Police conduct truck safety blitz in St. Clements

One of six trucks inspected in St. Clements yesterday morning was pulled off the road during a commercial vehicle inspection blitz.

Resident complaints have been rolling into the Waterloo Region Police Service about unsafe transport trucks coming through St. Clements, whether it is to do with speed, an unsecured load, or any other safety concerns.

Staff Sgt. Michael Hinsperger double checks the brakes and the tires on a commercial vehicle pulled over during the commercial vehicle blitz in St. Clements on Wednesday morning. [Liz Bevan / The Observer]
Staff Sgt. Michael Hinsperger double checks the brakes and the tires on a commercial vehicle pulled over during the commercial vehicle blitz in St. Clements on Wednesday morning. [Liz Bevan / The Observer]
Yesterday, Staff Sgt. Michael Hinsperger of the Elmira detachment and law enforcement partners were parked at the St. Clements community centre to monitor the truck traffic and to do some safety inspections on transport vehicles coming through the village of just over 1,200 people. With just one truck taken out of service, he says the day was a good one.

“There were four charges laid in total. We had a pretty clean assortment of trucks today, which was nice to see,” he said after the blitz was complete. The blitz was prompted by the complaints and concerns of St. Clements residents.

“There have been a couple of complaints about the truck traffic and more, so we are … there to do some safety inspections on the trucks and get a little bit of a sense of the problem and … see what kind of shape the trucks are in mechanically,” he said. “Speed was one of the issues, but certainly just the sheer volume of the trucks going through St. Clements is another complaint we have. It certainly merits some attention, and first and foremost, we want to make sure that the trucks are safe while travelling through that stretch.”

Hinsperger says that during their commercial vehicle enforcement blitzes, inspectors like himself pull an average of around 30 per cent of trucks out of service. Wednesday saw a lower number.

NEWS_truckenforcement_post1“It was actually a little better than we have gotten in the past, which I was really glad to see. For the most part, the trucks that were in, the drivers were diligent and doing their paperwork. In my opinion, it was a successful day from an industry standpoint with the trucks that we pulled. We had everything from six-axle tractor trailers to two-axle smaller trucks to trucks and smaller trailers. We had a bit of a cross-section of everything,” he said, adding that the 30 per cent number has a few qualifiers attached to it. “You have to be a little bit careful and quantify it a little bit, that when we do blitzes or initiatives like this, they tend to be a little bit subjective because we are specifically looking for rougher looking trucks.”

The police force, along with the Ministry of Transportation were in Wilmot on Monday, set up at the New Hamburg Community Centre on a similar mission. The percentage of inspected trucks they pulled off the roads was about average for the such blitzes.

“It was effective. We were working with the MTO and we stopped 22 vehicles. Five were taken out of service. We had six charges laid like defective brakes, overweight cargo, improper lighting signals, failure to complete inspection reports and not doing inspection reports as required,” said Hinsperger. “That was close to 25 per cent of the trucks we inspected. That shows that there is clearly a need for the blitz.”

Next up, officers will band together with inspectors from police departments around the province for a mass enforcement blitz at the beginning of August. Around 50 inspectors will be at The Aud in Kitchener, looking at some 200 trucks over a two-day period.

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