MILTON, ON - - Seventy four tractor trailers and 142 truckers occupied the eastbound MTO weigh station Thursday afternoon to register displeasure with what they perceive as inconsistent, unfair, and unnecessary enforcement of rules that, they say, don’t make sense.
One of the protest leaders was Michael McCallum of Woodbridge, ON-based KH United Trucks. He said that the truckers hope to have another meeting with Ministry officials Friday morning in Brampton to discuss their concerns.
“This is my first act of civil disobedience, ever,” he told todaystrucking.com.
At the heart of the grievance, McCallum said, is that gravel haulers feel the rules that proscribe axle-weight loading specs are arbitrary and almost impossible to obey because the drivers are not allowed to interfere with the staff at gravel pits who load their trucks.
The day before the demonstration, McCallum said, he left a gravel pit loaded knowing that he was 3,100 kg over on his rear axles but drove directly to the MTO station to show the inspector that yes, there was an infraction but that the driver wasn’t able to do anything about it.
“The whole issue is how we have to balance our loads properly,” he said.
“Everybody is fed up with it,” he said. “But until now, nobody’s had the stones to stand up to them.”
Update: Bob Nichols, senior media liaison officer with the MTO, sent us this letter:
As a ministry, our first concern is the safety of those using our highways. Safety is our top priority.
Aggregate haulers are protesting at one of our highway weigh stations after being charged for over-weight loads.
The rules we have in place about truck inspections and vehicle weight restrictions are designed to ensure that our roads are safe.
Ministry staff have met with representatives, and have scheduled an additional meeting for Friday (tomorrow) to get a clear understanding of their concerns and requests.
As always, we are open to listening to our partners’ concerns and to working with them on solutions.
We want to stress that the concerns being raised do not pose a threat to road safety.
We’re continuing to conduct truck inspections in the area. Trucks are being inspected at nearby stations, including at Whitby and Putnam.
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