Commercial drivers and their companies can expect more than a warning the next time they contravene hours of service rules.
New rules in Canada mean that drivers and companies who contravene the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations will be able to be fined directly by enforcement agencies, marking a significant change in enforcement process.
Previously, offenders of these regulations could be solely subjected to warnings only, or go through a lengthy court process.
The change was made possible by amending the Contraventions Regulations, which provided new ways to spell out contraventions in the Hours of Service, including the amount of fines.
The Hours of Service Regulations are critical for promoting road safety as they mandate how long commercial drivers can operate their vehicles before they need rest. They also outline logging and reporting requirements for commercial vehicles and fleet operators.
By designating certain provisions of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations as contraventions, authorities have a new tool that allows for swift enforcement.
With the amended regulations, contravention tickets can be issued as soon as the Contraventions Regulations’ amendments are published.
The new contraventions include pre-set fine amounts classified into three categories – minor, moderate, and severe. Minor contraventions could result in fines of up to $600, whereas more severe contraventions could be as high as $2,000.
Issuing contravention tickets provide a new tool for authorities to use, however they do not replace the court process; this remains available to prosecute offenders of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.
“We recognize that going through the court process for violations of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations can tie up the justice system and take time,” said The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport.
“By allowing enforcement authorities to directly fine violators, we’re giving them new tools to deliver quick and effective penalties. I would like to thank the Department of Justice for helping Transport Canada amend the regulations to make these enforcement measures possible. The issuance of tickets – when stacked with our new measures on electronic logging devices – are helping to improve commercial vehicle safety for all Canadians.”
These new enforcement measures build on other action the Government of Canada has taken to prevent commercial driver fatigue, including mandating electronic logging devices for federally regulated truck and bus operators.
Federal requirements for electronic logging devices came into force on June 12, 2021, in order to reduce driver fatigue and to help prevent collisions. Only certified devices are recognized to meet federal requirements. The enforcement of those requirements came into effect on January 1, 2023.
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