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Commercial drivers could avoid 'hefty fines' with new EPS educational program

The Edmonton Police Service is launching a new program to educate commercial vehicle drivers who have received fines for safety infractions for the first time.

The Commercial Vehicle Alternative Resolution Program will allow drivers to attend a free educational session instead of paying the fine associated with the violation.

The EPS says it has inspected 1,438 commercial vehicles to-date in 2023, noted 4,877 violations and issued 2,808 tickets.

Only 30 per cent of the inspected vehicles passed inspection. Another 29 per cent required attention, and 41 per cent were declared out-of-service.

The program is meant for drivers that operate small commercial vehicles such as hotshot couriers, landscapers and contractors, who are not part of a large company that has safety training in place for drivers.

"We have a concern with the smaller carriers. We see them time, and time again. Load security violations, vehicle code violations, just a large number of unsafe vehicles going down the road," Const. Kyle Westergaard with the EPS Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit told reporters on Wednesday.

"The big vehicles, they fall under the national safety code. So the province actually gives them a framework of rules and regulations."

"The smaller carriers, the ones that this program is really designed for, they don't have that."

Before the program, a first-time offender had four options: pay the ticket; plead not guilty and go to trial; plead guilty and request time to pay the fine; or dispute the ticket.

When the program rolls out in early October, drivers who complete the voluntary education session successfully will have their ticket withdrawn.

"Really, nothing changes on the side of the road. They still get their tickets, we're still taking the unsafe vehicles off the highway. If they’re not safe to be on the highway, they're getting towed, they're getting fixed."

Westergaard says the ticket withdrawal policy will only apply to tickets related to vehicle maintenance and regulations violations.

"If they were stopped for speeding, if they ran a stop sign, they're still accountable for those ones," he said.

Westergaard says not only will the program help to make the roads safer, it will help small businesses avoid "hefty fines" that can be associated with commercial violation tickets.

"There's a financial reward for them as well as the educational benefit," he said.

"We want the highways to be safe for our families, we want the highways to be safe for the people driving these trucks down the road."

EPS is partnering with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) and the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) to deliver the program.

The program is believed to be the first-of-its-kind in North America. Top Stories

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