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Carrier won challenge to truck smoking fine years ago

TORONTO -- The haze may be lifting from the smoking-in-trucks issue in Ontario.

An incident involving a driver being fined $305 for smoking while driving his rig along Highway 401 near Windsor, Ont. last week drew the ire of many truckers across the country and added to the confusion over where truckers could light up.

There's some uncertainty as to whether the new law -- which bans all smoking in enclosed public spaces and workplaces, including commercial trucks and taxis -- affects all truck drivers.

As Today's Trucking reported when the Smoke Free Ontario Act took effect, federally-regulated carriers are governed by Ottawa's anti-smoking bills, which allow employers to designate smoking areas within the workplace, and the provincial law is not likely to be enforceable.

According to The Toronto Star, the manager of one federally regulated trucking company thinks that's why it was taken off the hook after it was fined in a similar incident in 2006. 


To light up or where to light up? That is the question
Ontario truckers are asking once again after a driver
got slapped with a $305 ticket by an overzealous cop.

Joe Ball, vice-president of drivers and safety with Meyers Transport, says his company was charged under the provincial Act as well because it allowed a driver to smoke in the cab.

The carrier faced a maximum fine of $10,000 dollars, and so it challenged the ticket. According to the Star, the case went up to the Ontario Superior Court, but the Crown suddenly and unceremoniously dropped the charges on the first day of hearings.

The Health and Safety officer who laid the charge told The Star that she was just as surprised the charge was dropped at the 11th hour.

Ingrid Cathcart believes that the case had significant implications; and had it been permitted to proceed, and the government won, she says the provincial Act would have bound all federal carriers as well.

Ball, who says over two-thirds of his drivers smoke, told the newspaper that the company attempts to designate non-smoking equipment whenever possible. 

 
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