CVOR… How Do I Maintain It?

Nov 16, 2020 CVOR

Imagine you’re driving down the road with a fresh coffee in your hand. You’re about to take your first sip, and we all know how important coffee is, and then all of a sudden, you see flashing lights…

You’re getting pulled over, but why?

You look around to make sure you are buckled up, you are not distracted, speed was okay… enter MTO inspector. The inspector asks you if you know why you are being pulled over; do you?

You hand over your license, insurance and commercial documentation… what?

Did you know that certain vehicles are commercially rated if they exceed 4,500 kgs?

Did you know that if you are a commercial driver or operator, there are requirements that need to be followed, such as daily documented inspections, hours of service requirements, load securement obligations, and others such as TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods)?

If this is a bit of a surprise to you, maybe you need to keep reading; if not, keep reading anyway and let’s see if you are doing it right.


CVOR Inspections

Let’s start with inspections as they are the most common way that drivers and operators receive deficiencies. Regulation 199/07 under the Highway Traffic Act governs the requirements for commercial motor vehicle inspections. There are six schedules of inspection in this regulation, one of which will apply to your commercial vehicle.

For example, schedule two applies to busses with or without trailers, schedules three and four apply to motor coaches, and schedules five and six apply to school vehicles. While these ones are used often in many industries, schedule one is the most commonly used as it applies to multiple types of vehicles, such as transport trucks, service trucks, tow trucks, certain pickup trucks, and the list goes on.

Still with me? Great! 

Within each schedule, you will see that specific items must be inspected once every 24 hours. The schedules also have columns that indicate minor and major defects that you need to look for.

If there are no minor or major defects that you can find, then you are golden; however, if you do find some, they must be dealt with. If a minor defect is identified, it must be repaired before the vehicle’s next dispatch; if a major defect is identified, it is against the law for that vehicle to be on the road until the defect is addressed.

Also, an inspection report must be completed once the inspection is complete; this part is crucial as it is one of the first items an inspector will ask to see if you get pulled over. This inspection report must be completed in full after the inspection; it must be signed by the driver and accurate and legible.

Hours of Service

Next, let’s discuss hours of service, also known as Regulation 555/06, under the Highway Traffic Act. This regulation can be tricky as it involves many numbers, and the daily hour requirements may change depending on which province you are in or if you are travelling into the USA.

Fun stuff, eh?

Hours of service restrictions are intended to reduce driver fatigue by limiting the number of hours a driver can be on-duty driving within 24 hours, limiting the number of hours drivers can be on-duty not driving within 24 hours, and the provide the required off-duty or rest time required within 24 hours.

It is the driver and operator’s responsibility to ensure that the hours of service regulations are adhered to, so both parties must be aware of how they work and the operator must ensure that they are enforced.

The hours of service regulations may not apply to all commercial vehicles, but where a driver is required to follow them, they must ensure that they complete a logbook. It must be accurate, legible, and must not be signed until the driver’s day has ended.

Depending on the industry you’re in or what you are using the commercial vehicle for, there may be certain exemptions to all or parts of the regulation that apply to you. For example, suppose you never travel outside of a 160 km radius of your primary workplace, and you always start and finish the day in the same location; while hours of service may still apply to you, you may not need to complete a logbook showing your daily hours.

If you are a tow truck driver, although you are commercially rated and must inspect the vehicle using a schedule one, the hours of service regulations do not apply.

If you are an emergency services, such as an ambulance or fire truck, the hours of service regulations do not apply to you, but the inspections might.

Clear as mud so far?

Load Securement

Next, the requirements for load securement (Regulation 363/04) must be adhered to where they apply. We won’t get into a tremendous amount of detail on this, but there are a few things that you will need to know about them.

With load securement, if you are hauling freight on a trailer or vehicle where it is not self-contained, the cargo must be adequately secured using straps or chains. The combined working load limit (WLL) of the straps or chains must be equal to at least 50% of the weight of what they are holding.

Also, the straps or chains must be tight, must be periodically checked to ensure they remain secure, and the system as a whole must be compliant with what is called NSC-10, or National Safety Code 10, which governs the load securement requirements for North America.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

With transporting dangerous goods, it is required that you adhere to the Federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act if you are transporting them. TDG can be tricky as the requirements that you must follow will vary depending on what it is you are carrying.

TDG is comprised of placards, packaging requirements, labelling requirements, documentation requirements, training, and many others.

So, after reading all of this, how compliant do you feel you are currently? What would happen if you lost your CVOR and could not operate commercial vehicles? For most companies, this would be detrimental. If you follow all of these requirements, that is great; if not, don’t worry; you can always get back on track.

CVOR compliance can be tricky, but it can be achieved so long as you take it seriously. Here are some of the things that you should do:

  • Don’t assume that your commercial drivers understand the above requirements; train them! 
    • Just because a driver holds a commercial license doesn’t mean that they understand everything they are responsible for. A lack of understanding in the above areas is incredibly common among commercial drivers. I have conducted many CVOR training programs, and in almost every course, I hear the participants say, “I didn’t know that!”. If you have commercial vehicles in your workplace with air brakes, ask the drivers how to conduct the four air brake tests required by the applicable schedule; in my experience, 10% of drivers might know how to do these properly, and that is a problem.
  • Don’t assume that those who dispatch drivers understand the above requirements, train them!
    • I have seen many times where a dispatcher tells a driver to go here or go there, and the driver responds saying, “I can’t because I don’t have enough hours left today,” After which the dispatcher says, “what do you mean you don’t have enough hours?” This clearly indicates they do not have a proper understanding of what the law requires.
  • Ensure all drivers who may have received a ticket in the commercial vehicle bring it to your attention, and fight every ticket!
    • The fines associated with a ticket are not the most considerable concern, it is the CVOR points that you don’t want. You need to fight every ticket to decrease or get rid of at least the points. When you fight a ticket, often, you can have the penalty decreased. If you choose not to, you run the risk of accumulating a high number of CVOR points and may be at risk of losing your CVOR.
  • Pull driver abstracts annually on all commercial drivers!
    • Drivers may not tell you about the tickets they have received, so you may not know about them until it is too late and the insurance company, who pull commercial abstracts annually on all drivers, increases your rates. When you hit certain point thresholds, you may receive warning letters or facility audits from the MTO, and you don’t want these.

The next thing to ask yourself is, “am I qualified or experienced enough to teach my drivers?” In many cases, those who teach this information to their drivers are former or current drivers themselves, which is excellent. However, if you don’t believe you are qualified, then never fear, Industrial Safety Trainers is here! 

Our CVOR instructors have been in the industry for many years and are very knowledgeable in the requirements of CVOR. We can help your company improve its CVOR compliance by training your drivers in Schedule One Inspections, Hours of Service requirements, Load Securement and Transportation of Dangerous Goods.


David Ardito
Consultant with Industrial Safety Trainers

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