The new Commercial Vehicle Alternative Resolution Program was created to educate first-time offenders better, specifically those operating commercial vehicles between 4,500 and 11,793 kg, who are not typically affiliated with major transportation carriers or have access to their specialized training programs.
“We typically educate drivers roadside during traffic enforcement about vehicle safety, load security and licencing, but they often receive tickets that can have significant financial implications for smaller businesses such as hotshot couriers, landscapers and contractors,” says Const. Kyle Westergaard with the EPS Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit.
“We saw a real opportunity to fill the gap in traffic safety education and provide an option to correct the situation, but by no means does this mean that drivers are not being held accountable – we will still be ticketing for driving or safety violations, and towing vehicles that are declared out of service.”
So far in 2023, EPS has inspected 1,438 commercial vehicles, noted 4,877 violations, and issued 2,808 tickets as a result. Only 30% of vehicles passed inspection, 29% required attention, and 41% were declared out of service.
Commercial vehicle drivers who have been ticketed for contravening the Traffic Safety Act or the Commercial Vehicle Safety Regulation, have the option to: pay the ticket; plead not guilty and go to trial; plead guilty and request time to pay the fine; or dispute the ticket. The EPS Commercial Vehicle Alternative Resolution Program now provides drivers with the option to voluntarily attend an educational session at no cost and become eligible to have the ticket withdrawn upon successful completion of the session.
To assist with the delivery of the new program, EPS is partnering with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) and the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA), as both organizations are strong advocates for health and safety at jobsites and on highways.
“The ACSA is honoured to partner with the EPS and the AMTA on such an important program to increase safety both on our city streets and for our members,” says Mark Hoosein, CEO of the ACSA. “Ensuring members have access to necessary safety training and information is our mission, and doing so in collaboration with important partners is an added benefit.”
With Edmonton continuing to be one of the largest commercial vehicle hubs in North America, having the support of these partners will help EPS educate a greater segment of the industry than stand-alone enforcement.
“The Alberta Motor Transport Association strives to raise safety standards for Alberta’s transportation industry through safety programs, progressive policy, and partnerships such as this one,” says Michelle Spacil, Manager of AMTA Member Services. “We fully support this initiative to provide the option of an educational enforcement approach to traffic safety.”
The Commercial Vehicle Alternative Resolution Program, believed to be the first in North America, will be rolled out in early October 2023.
Const. Westergaard adds, “We are providing a good incentive for first-time offenders to correct their behaviour and demonstrate the safety of their vehicles. It reduces the burden on their wallets and on the courts as well. But ultimately, our goal is to increase safety on Edmonton’s streets and Alberta’s highways.”