Adding to the misery of commuters on an already slushy commute, 200 truck drivers protested by way of slow driving along the Gardiner Expressway around 7 pm in protest on Wednesday morning, to bring attention to what they consider unfair increase in insurance.
From the Gardiner Expressway they then headed north up the Don Valley Parkway and turned on to Highway 401, travelling westbound to Highway 410.
According to Jagroop Singh, Director of the Ontario Aggregate Trucking Association the demonstration was held to protest the 40 per cent increase in commercial trucking insurance over the past two years.
According to reports rates have gone up by as much as 15 per cent for good drivers.
Insurers would blame the rate increase on the spate of accidents and huge payouts as a result of accidents involving trucks. So much so, some insurers are choosing not to renew the policies of drivers with bad records.
Singh says that the problem they are protesting lies with the insurance companies, brokers and the government and claims truck drivers pay more insurance in Ontario than other provinces. In addition, he says insurance rates go up without any notice and the government should monitor insurance companies and what he calls their unfair practices.
According to the insurance broker, insuring a truck driver depends on many factors — the driver’s accident record and industry accident rates being foremost. Other factors include truck maintenance, regulatory compliance, how far a trucker goes, and what they are hauling. He adds that in the trucking insurance industry, dump truck drivers are considered high-risk.
But Singh says the criteria for insuring a commercial vehicle is stacked against new drivers in particular.
“The Ministry of Transportation — they provide you a Z license. That means someone with a license is capable [of driving a truck],” he says. However, Singh claims when licensed truck drivers try to get insured, they are often refused due to lack of experience with cargo loads like sand and gravel.
If the government and insurers don’t reverse these high insurance rates, more protests by truck drivers is to be expected. Think hundreds of trucks driving down highways and slowing things down considerably.
Meanwhile it is clear that there needs to be changes and reforms made by all parties involved. Badly maintained trucks should be off the road or maintained as per the law and bad drivers should be off the road or be prepared to undergo intensive training. -CINEWS