Hamilton officers have seen some hair-curling results this week as they inspect trucks in the city's industrial area.
In the first concentrated commercial truck inspection in Hamilton in years, officers found loose wheels, malfunctioning brakes and loads insecurely strapped onto trucks.
In total, more than 80 per cent of the vehicles inspected were temporarily taken off the road until they could be fixed or made safe again.
"This is my first experience in Hamilton and I find the numbers to be extremely high," said Const. Pat Martin, a commercial vehicle officer from Halton Regional Police who helped with the inspections. "It kind of hearkens back to the Halton Region a number of years ago when we started our program."
Hamilton officers conducted inspections on Burlington Street and in Flamborough on Monday and Tuesday. It was the latest in a string of inspections scheduled for Hamilton roads this year. Officers held a one-day event in Waterdown in April, and plan two more for June and a larger event in September.
More than 3,000 heavy commercial vehicles travel through Hamilton each day. Unlike Halton, Hamilton Police Service does not have a unit dedicated to inspecting commercial vehicles, said Const. Joanne Serkyn on Tuesday. But police plan to establish one in the future.
During the inspections, officers drove around the industrial area identifying trucks that may have problems and directed the drivers to the inspection spot on Burlington Street. Officers then did "level one" inspections, which includes looking at the truck's registration, brakes and tires.
Missing wheel fasteners
Of the 22 inspected on Monday, 18 were taken out of service for violations, Martin said. Sixty-nine offenses were laid under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act, from $110 for broken signal lights to $490 for faulty brakes.
Some trucks quickly returned to the road. Others were taken out of service entirely and drivers will have to go through the safety process again, Martin said.
Load violations were the most common infraction, as well as several flat or balding tires.
"Wheel fasteners is huge," Martin said. "We had a trailer brought in today that was missing wheel fasteners. That could potentially cause that wheel to come off at some point."
Serkyn and Martin attribute the high number of violations to lack of education, as well as drivers not expecting to be inspected in the area. There are no Ministry of Transportation inspection stations in Hamilton. The closest is Vineland, Martin said. And many drivers avoid them.
Making roadways safer
Hamilton police are stepping up efforts to ensure road safety, and to educate drivers to make their vehicles safe and expect inspections, Serkyn said.
"The whole point of the blitz is we want to prevent things from happening," she said. "We don't want fatalities on the roadways. We don't want major collisions.
"By being proactive and getting out there and stopping vehicles and looking for compliance, we're making the roadway safer for people."
Non-commercial motorists should look at truck safety like they look at impaired driving. If they see a potential impaired driver, they should call police. Unsafe trucks are no different, Martin said.
"If a motorist sees a vehicle that appears unsafe, don't hesitate to call," he said. "You don't have to call the Ministry of Transportation. Police can look into those issues."
This story was amended to correct the number of trucks traveling through Hamilton each day.May 30, 2013 9:55 AM ET