Smile - you're on trucker camera! Drivers outfitting tractor-trailers with cameras to capture bad behaviour

The Ontario Professional Drivers' Safety Association is outfitting trucks with cameras in an attempt curb bad driving. Video of illegal behaviour will be sent to police.

Ontario Professional Drivers' Safety Association will send video of dangerous or illegal behaviour to police

John DeGroot is the founder of the Ontario Professional Drivers' Safety Association. (John DeGroot)

Next time you drive near a transport truck, you may be captured on camera.

The Ontario Professional Drivers' Safety Association, a new organization made up of independent and fleet drivers, has announced plans to outfit trucks with high definition cameras to capture bad behaviour.

The plan comes out of a discussion association members had about the rash of collisions and illegal behaviour on the road.

​"We wanted to put safety back in the industry and promote it," said association founder John DeGroot. "Commercial trucks have a large presence on Ontario roads every day."

Four trucks have signed up for the program so far, including DeGroot's own vehicle. Routes travelled include the Greater Toronto Area to Windsor (daily), Quebec (twice weekly) and Manitoba (weekly).

Each truck will have at least three cameras, with built-in GPS tracking. The cameras are of a quality that will allow the licence plate of vehicles three lanes away to be clearly read, and possibly inside the vehicle, DeGroot explained.

The trucks will not have special markings that indicate it has cameras on-board.

Footage of dangerous or illegal behaviour will be sent to police and possibly submitted to driving schools for use in training. If a commercial vehicle is involved in the incident, DeGroot said the video will be sent to the company as well.

Cameras will be installed on DeGroot's truck this weekend. (John DeGroot)

When contacted by CBC News, OPP Highway Safety Division Sgt. Kerry Schmidt was quick to say this new initiative is not in partnership with police.

"We're not looking for other people to be our patrol officers," he said. "I haven't gotten into any discussions with anybody that we're going to start having have truck drivers on the road patrolling the highways for us, looking for distracted drivers."

Nevertheless, Schmidt said video submitted by drivers could be used as part of an investigation.

Recording vehicles not an invasion of privacy

Both DeGroot and Schmidt said recording fellow drivers is not illegal or an invasion of privacy.

"It's no more than anybody with a dash cam in their vehicle or a traffic camera that might be on a street corner — cameras are everywhere," DeGroot said.

"It's not trying to invade privacy; it's trying to protect the public."

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.