The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has applauded the announcement by Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, outlining stricter new penalties for impaired driving – including drug and alcohol use for commercial vehicle operators – along with new and young drivers.
“For the last 20 years it has been an industry standard for companies to take proactive steps to ensure drivers are fit for duty and not operating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski.
Laskowski pointed to the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR) which states “[large truck operators] are less likely [compared to other drivers involved in the same crashes] to have been drinking or impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The announcement is a positive first step in helping to improve safety, says OTA. However, the association and other employer groups are eager to work with the province to do even more.
“With the legalization of marijuana, we believe governments need to send employers a clear message of what is expected in the transportation sector when it comes to safety sensitive positions,” adds Laskowski.
OTA and other employer groups have been calling on the provincial and federal government to ensure employers of workers in safety sensitive positions can operate comprehensive drug testing programs.
“If we are going to have zero-tolerance policies for roadside enforcement of carriers, we need to ensure they have the necessary tools to enforce those policies in their workplaces,” says Laskowski.
OTA will also look forward to working with MTO regarding the development and clarification of enforcement polices fore this proposal.