Since the province announced its intention to move forward with legislation and regulations which could provide municipalities the ability to designate additional community safety zones and use photo-radar to enforce speed limits (also termed automated speed enforcement – ASE), OTA has been working with MTO to clarify a number of issues identified by the carrier membership.
This clarification includes the issuance of tickets based on trailer plate information and how this photo radar system could/would impact CVOR.
OTA has also raised two main concerns: 1. The process outlined in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) regarding the community safety zone under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) is too broad and may lead to community safety zones being created for reasons that have more to do with politics than safety; 2. The issuance of fines to companies, rather than drivers, will not improve road safety.
“The Ontario Trucking Association has and will always be a strong advocate of improving commercial vehicle safety. On the face of it, using modern enforcement technology to monitor speed in high risk collision areas within municipalities makes sense in an age where there are limited funds to hire more enforcement officers,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “The question is what statistical reasoning and policy rigor will be applied to creating these community zones; how varied will speed differentials be within community safety zones; and in the case of commercial vehicles, how can provincial and municipal governments ensure this system will actually change the behaviour of drivers who violate community safety zone speed limits.”
OTA also reiterates that trucks have been identified by the Ministry of Transportation as the vehicles least likely to speed. This safety fact has been supported by a lobby initiative lead by OTA that requires all vehicles above xxxx kgs to be speed governed at 105 km.
Attached is a FAQ document associated with the province’s proposal and how it could impact the trucking industry.
Will owners of commercial vehicles charged under the proposed ASE framework and what if the plate is not visible due to the presence of a trailer?
Municipalities will be fully responsible for the administration of their Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program within their municipality.
The province will set guidelines for ASE, mirroring the current Red Light Camera program (RLC) in which vehicle owners (as opposed to trailer owners) are the ones charged and sent an offence notice (ticket) and this is how we would envision it will work under any municipal ASE program. Offence notices do not get issued to plates on trailers.
If the vehicle plate is not visible due to the presence of a trailer then no offence notice is issued. However, when photographic evidence is being reviewed, if the Provincial Offences Officer can recognize the vehicle plate (despite presence of a trailer) a charge can be laid and an offence notice will be mailed to the registered vehicle owner (plate holder) of the vehicle.
Municipalities will also have the option of setting up ASE to capture the front of the vehicle to address this issue.
How will payment of fines work?
An Offence notice will be issued to the plate owner who then has the option to either pay the fine or contest the ticket in court (as currently is the case with a speeding ticket). If the owner chooses to pay the ticket, existing payment options will still apply.
Will drivers be held accountable? And will demerit points be applied to the licence?
Under an automated speed enforcement regime, fine ranges and amounts would remain consistent with Ontario’s existing speed penalty structure under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). However, because automated enforcement technologies are only able to identify plate and vehicles used in the commission of the offence and not necessarily the offending driver, driver based penalties such as demerit points and licence suspensions will not apply.
How will trucking companies be impacted under this initiative?
Automated enforcement technologies are only able to identify plate and vehicles and not the offending driver; and so driver based penalties do not apply.
The plate owner will be issued a speeding ticket, but their CVOR will not be impacted with points.
OTA continues to work with MTO to determine timelines for when municipalities will start to implement this proposal (legislative and regulatory changes are still necessary so it could still be months away) as well as how the logistics of the ASE systems can be designed to deter drivers in care and control of the vehicle from speeding versus simply issuing monetary penalties to their company.
OTA will continue to keep the membership informed of this issue. Members with questions can contact operations&[email protected]