Dozens of police officers are sweeping the streets clean of unsafe commercial vehicles as part of the two-day Project Spring Cleanup.
The third annual joint law-enforcement-services operation will see hundreds of trucks pulled over and inspected at Woodbine Racetrack to ensure they are operated safely and with proper documentation.
“Keeping vehicles safe on the roads saves people’s lives and prevent horrific injuries from occurring,” 23 Division Supt. Ron Taverner said, of the reason for the Rexdale-area enforcement blitz. “There are also savings in property damage and insurance rates in keeping these vehicles safe.”
Police officers from the OPP, Peel, Halton, York, and Guelph, as well as enforcement officers from the Ministry of Transportation, Revenue and Environment participated in inspecting the vehicles.
Taverner said that so many police services and provincial government agencies are eager to join forces for enforcement campaigns because they are effective for all jurisdictions.
“These commercial vehicles travel the whole province so, when we do a blitz here, it affects every community in Ontario.”
Commercial Vehicle inspectors, who are trained in a five-week course, carried out inspections after officers from the OPP, Toronto and Peel pulled over cars in the nearby area and 400-series highways.
“This division has a large industrial area,” 23 Division Sgt. Jason Leitch said, also noting highways 401, 409 and 427 cut through the Division. “Traffic safety is one of the priorities of the Service and commercial vehicle inspections are a priority in this division.”
During the first few hours of the blitz, several vehicles were taken off the road, including a scrap truck inspected by Halton police officers, with too much play in its steering. The truck had to be repaired on site or towed away, and faces a $390 fine for operating with a major defect.
One tractor-trailer carrying an inter-modal (shipping) container had its plates removed after Ministry of Transportation officers found several major defects.
The truck had a cracked frame, an insecure saddle tank, loose U-bolts, a leak in its exhaust line and a flat tire. The driver had also misrepresented documentation by writing the truck was inspected before being driven, as per the law.
Among other charges, the driver and company will face up to a $10,000 fine for operating an unsafe vehicle.
Before the day got started, officers took a moment to remember Peel Const. Artem James Ochakovsky, who died after a collision March 1.
Taverner presented a cheque on behalf of the officers of D platoon, who raised $350 in support of the Ochakovsky’s wife and three-year-old son.
Peel S/Supt Blair Foley and Insp. John Sutherland were on hand to accept the donation and express gratitude for the continued support from many officers.
“The support we have received from all police services at the funeral was exceptional,” Foley said, noting over 700 Toronto officers attended.
He said 53 Division officers also blocked every intersection from Highway 401 to Sunnybrook Hospital during the ambulance emergency run, and delivered food as well as moral support to Peel officers at the hospital.
“It’s a tremendous show of support.”