BY MICHAEL JAMES
If the number of vehicles impounded by Greater Sudbury Police Services last week for failing to pass safety inspection is any indication, the roads are much safer this week.
Â?A lot of the defects that are found on motor vehicles weÂ?re pulling off the road can be contributing factors to collisions,Â? Sgt. Gary Lavoie of the traffic management unit.
While he couldnÂ?t say exactly how many accidents are directly attributable to vehicle defects, he did say there are more than 4,000 collisions a year in Greater Sudbury, and, as a collision re-constructionist, heÂ?s investigated a good number of them.
Â?A normal personÂ?s reaction time to a situation on a highway is 1.5 seconds,Â? he said.
Â?If you have defective brakes and you factor in the inability of a vehicle to stop properly and in time...itÂ?s going to be a lot more difficult to avoid an accident.Â?
Police inspected 59 taxi cabs last Tuesday as part of its month-long Road Safety Initiative, made in conjunction with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), the Ministry of Transportation, Action Sudbury, the Sudbury and District Health Unit and the City of Greater SudburyÂ?s Emergency Medical Services.
Of the 59 taxis inspected, only 34 passed inspection, according to Lavoie. Twelve were declared unsafe and ordered off the road until such time as their owner/operators made the necessary repairs, while 13 had defects that drivers were told to fix, and, once completed, return to have their vehicles re-inspected.
In order to ensure cab driver compliance, Â?(licence) plates are pulled and their registration is stamped unfit,Â? Lavoie said.
Â?They have to get a mechanical fitness (certificate) to get them (their cabs) back on the road.Â?
Then, on Wednesday, the Traffic Management Unit were back at it again, this time conducting inspections on commercial motor vehicles. Police set up at the Terry Fox Complex for a while and then they moved to Garson Arena.
Eleven tractor trailers were pulled over for inspection, and, of that number, seven were pulled from service, three equipment related charges were laid and one fine was levied against a rig that was over the legal weight limit.
Â?The Ministry of Transportation has the authority to impound commercial motor vehicles,Â? Lavoie said. Â?And they (the drivers of the rigs) can repair them right on the spot, or have them towed away to be repaired.Â?
Finally, last Thursday, police focused attention on passenger vehicles issued notices.
Â?The majority of them brought their plates in and had the ownerships stamped unfit,Â? he said.
Â?I guess (they) felt that they werenÂ?t going to pass the mechanical fitness check, so they just brought the plates in and turned them over.Â?
While Lavoie said he believes the vehicle inspection campaign has been a success, he said heÂ?d like to see them done more often.
Â?We just started the traffic branch back up again,Â? he said. Â?Whether people are going to get the message or not, at this point itÂ?s a little hard to speculate on.Â?