May 8, 2008
By Terry Murphy CLP

Twenty Landscape Ontario members, with 30 trucks and trailers, participated in our first annual safety inspection and information day in Milton. Members made comments such as “What a great learning session,” “Wow, if inspected on the highway, it would have cost me big time!” and “I’m really glad I took the time to come.”

Our LO members were very pleased with the event, featuring MTO officers performing actual safety inspections at the LO home office. Inspectors warned ahead of time that unsafe trucks and trailers could be impounded, but fines were waived for the event. We probably saved members about $10,000 in fines that day, and MTO inspectors answered many questions. As an organizer and observer, I will give you my thoughts and observations on the day. Here is my report!

Need Pre-Trip Inspections

First, according to MTO inspectors, the landscape industry needs to focus on Pre-Trip Inspections. New forms are mandatory, must be completed daily and carry a judge’s summons if not completed. The court may also fine you. The new forms are available bound in a booklet from the Ontario Trucking Association, 555 Dixon Road, Toronto, ON M9W 1H8. Telephone 416-249-7401, fax 1-866-238-7705 or visit the association’s website at

If you driving on personal business on a Saturday or Sunday, and your tools are in your truck (under 6,000 kg), it will be considered a work day. If no tools or equipment are present, then it is generally considered personal use of the vehicle, and no Pre-Trip Inspection is required.

The following mandatory paperwork MUST be in your truck (If items are missing, the fines you face are in parentheses.

  • Driver’s license ($70)
  • Original insurance policy, not a copy ($70)
  • Vehicle registration ($110)
  • Copy of CVOR Certificate ($110)
  • Pre-Inspection Report c/w Schedule 1 items (Summons to see a judge plus fine).

In certain instances, fines can be assessed against not only the driver but also the owner.

Gross registration vehicle weights over 4,500 kg or vehicle + trailer + load weights that total more than 4,500 kg require a Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Registration from the MTO. Annual inspections of vehicles and trailers are mandatory, and the yellow inspection sticker must be displayed.

Dollar-per-pound fines exist for carrying weights that exceed registered weight.

Most violations carry demerit points. If you receive nine demerit points, MTO may request a meeting. You lose your driver’s license with 15 demerit points.

A common violation is “load securment,” where tools, machinery and supplies are not secured with strapping. Gravity alone is not considered securment.

A ‘G’ license is acceptable for total weights under 4,600 kg. Weights over 4,600 kg require an ‘A’ licence, and if the vehicle is equipped with air brakes, a ‘Z’ licence is required. If your vehicle is found to be over weight, you are fined, and a driver with the proper license must come to drive the vehicle.

Two braking systems

There must be two braking systems on your vehicle. Most inspections will verify that parking brakes work, in addition to regular hydraulic brakes. If not, a $390 fine applies to each violation.

The Pre-Trip Inspection Schedule 1 lists Minor and Major violations. Download Schedule 1, daily inspection requirements here. All violations observed must be written on the form during the inspection. You may drive with a Minor violation, but Major violations must be corrected before the vehicle can be driven on the highway. Your vehicle will be impounded with a fine and towed if a highway inspection uncovers a Major violation.

Secondary chains that provide a safety connection between truck and trailer cannot be worn, and no dents on links are allowed. This is a Major violation with a $190 fine.

Most individual fines range between $390 to $500. Fines generally total over $2,000 when vehicles are towed and impounded.


Road safety and MTO regulations require your attention and review. As an industry, we must make sure our drivers are doing daily Pre-Trip Inspections, have completed all the required paperwork and carry it in the vehicle. Both the driver and the owner can be fined for noncompliance.

In general, the rodeo was a very worthwhile day. We will certainly do it again next year. Thanks to MTO inspectors Mark Bonner, Edie Strachan and Carman Zambri for their great work and for their expertise in answering all our questions. LO and the landscape industry very much appreciate the fantastic cooperation with MTO, as we partner to make our highways safer in Ontario. Thanks also go to the LO members who took part in this day. Questions or comments can be directed to Terry Murphy at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 317.

MTO’s Mark Bonner goes over documents with a driver.
Carman Zambri inspects a vehicle.