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Commercial Truck Driving Tips and Pitfalls to Avoid

Driving Tips
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

Commercial Truck Driving Tips and Pitfalls to AvoidIf you operate commercial vehicles in Ontario, you are subject to the rules of Ontario’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) system and the Carrier Safety Rating (CSR) Program. These systems are in place to maintain the safety of Ontario’s roads by rating and inspecting commercial vehicles and drivers. As an operator, there many aspects of your CVOR rating you need to be aware of. The following information is good to know in general, but especially useful if you find yourself charged with a traffic infraction or offence.

What constitutes a commercial vehicle? 

Vehicles or combined vehicles that fall under the category of commercial vehicles include trucks with a gross weight, or registered gross weight, of over 4 500kg, and buses with a seating capacity of ten or more passengers.

What if my vehicle is not plated in Ontario?

All commercial vehicle operators in Ontario must have a valid Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) certificate and carry a copy. If your vehicle is plated in another Canadian province or territory, you do not need a CVOR certificate; however, if your vehicle is plated in Ontario, the US, or Mexico, you do need one.

What is my CVOR rating based on?

The CVOR system monitors your on-road performance over a two-year period based on events on its record. An operator’s on-road performance is evaluated based on collision records, conviction records, roadside inspection reports, and any previous ministry interventions (examples include Letters, interviews, audits, and sanctions).

It’s important to note that the Ministry of Transportation has the authority to review your ‘private’ business records in order to assign your safety rating. As a driver, portions of your carrier safety rating are made available to your insurance company, financial institution, employers, and even your competition, so a poor rating can heavily affect your career and beyond.

What can I do to keep my CVOR record clean?

There are a few ways you can keep your record clean and low-stress:

  1.  Ensure that your qualifications and license are up to date. If you are caught with expired credentials, your defence gets a lot more complicated.
  2. Keep your vehicle in a good, safe condition at all times.
  3. Ensure that daily and annual/ semi-annual inspections are completed.
  4. Ensure that you are within your load capacity, whether you are shipping goods or people.
  5. Adhere to all traffic laws.
  6. Organize your paperwork! Keep your records on hand, including vehicle repairs, kilometres travelled per year, and annual inspection reports. You never know when you’ll need to produce these documents.
  7. Notify the Ministry of Transportation if you have a change of name, address, telephone number, fleet data, kilometric traffic, changes in corporate officers, etc.
  8. Renew your CVOR certificate, and do not allow it to expire!

Following these rules will help you avoid getting into a tight spot. If you are charged with an infraction or offence, being able to prove that you are an up-to-date and responsible driver with current documents and a reliable vehicle will go great lengths to help your defence. 

Why You Should Choose A Law Firm This is Focused on Operator Needs?

If you read our previous blog post, you know that it is crucial to maintain your carrier safety rating and CVOR records as a commercial vehicle operator. Bad ratings can significantly impact your career for the long term. Our dedicated team of professionals includes lawyers, licensed paralegals, former Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Officers, and former police officers. We know the system inside and out and can help you with a host of services, from compliance training to legal advice, should you be charged for committing a traffic infraction or offence. We will provide you with the education you need to avoid future infractions and legal complications in your career, and will alleviate the consequences of any infractions or offences you have recently been charged with.

X-Copper is a full-service compliance management company, and offers training and knowledge sessions, including:

  • MTO mock audit preparation and facility audit representation
  • Training in trip inspections and logbooks
  • Training in handling dangerous good
  • Show cause hearing tribunals
  • Education and compliance programs
  • Background checks and investigations
  • Defensive / distractive driver training

If you have been charged with a traffic infraction or offences relating to impaired driving, dangerous driving, or criminal matters, let our paralegals and lawyers fight for your rights.

Our association with respect to legal advisors in Canada and the US provides our clients with additional access to high-quality advice no matter what the legal issue. Call us today at 1-888-XCOPPER, or visit us online and submit a free quote with your contact information and a brief explanation of the event that occurred or the ticket you received.


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