Government closing of Peel Enforcement Office endangers motorists: OPSEU

PEEL, ON, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - The Ontario government's elimination of safety patrols for dangerous trucks in Peel Region will leave one of the province's largest trucking hubs without basic safety enforcement, putting GTA motorists in grave danger, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

The elimination of the Peel Enforcement Office and the virtual elimination of area patrols in the region is part of the Ontario government's goal of downsizing the public service by five per cent by Mar. 31, 2012.

Edie Strachan, president of OPSEU Local 506 and a transportation enforcement officer for the Ministry of Transportation, says that her members are extremely concerned about the danger to people in the GTA. "Our members can barely handle the workload right now," said Strachan. "Peel Police only have two officers trained as inspectors and they will tell you, their mandate is not trucks."

Strachan says that her members regularly find trucks with malfunctioning brakes and poorly-fastened wheels in Peel, which has more than a hundred bus operators and nearly a thousand  garages doing truck and vehicle-safety certifications. "Now, unsafe trucks can go through Peel completely unimpeded without worrying whether their vehicles may be inspected to ensure they meet basic safety standards."

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, says that the decision to cut inspection patrols is profoundly weakening Ontario's truck safety inspection system. "Ontario citizens are being placed at unacceptable risk," Thomas said. "There will be more accidents, more injuries and more deaths on Ontario roads. The public expects our roads to be safe. We can't provide that service if the government keeps slashing the foundation of public safety."

The Ministry of Transportation has completed over one million commercial driver and vehicle inspections since 1999. These were conducted by 270 OPSEU-represented transportation enforcement officers.

SOURCE OPSEU

For further information:

Edie Strachan, 416-254-0604


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