How safety records for commercial vehicle operators are calculated

By Staff

In part one of a two-part series on the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR), Toronto licensing and compliance lawyer Anar Dewshi lays out the requirements for compliance.

A truck or bus company’s collision rate is just one of the factors that contribute to its safety rating, says Toronto licensing and compliance lawyer Anar Dewshi.

Dewshi, principal of Dewshi Law Practice, explains that Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation requires operators to carry a copy of their CVOR certificate in each of their vehicles.

The CVOR system tracks an operator’s safety record over a two-year period, based on a sliding scale that drops one day from the beginning of the period for every day that elapses.

“This means that every event in the last 24 months is counted on the operator’s safety record,” Dewshi tells

Operators are then evaluated according to their performance on three key safety indicators:

  • Collisions: “Points are assigned based on the severity of the collision,” Dewshi says.

  • Convictions: “Charges can be laid against the operator or the driver and points are assigned based on the severity of the offence,” she says, explaining that a Canada-wide data exchange system provides the MTO with details of non-Ontario convictions.

  • Roadside inspections: “Inspectors will be looking for general defects, out-of-service defects, and critical defects that can cause the vehicle to be impounded,” Dewshi says.

Depending on their accumulation of points, a company’s overall violation rate is used to assign them one of five possible safety ratings: Excellent, Satisfactory, Satisfactory-Unaudited, Conditional or Unsatisfactory.

“This label is important because it is available publicly, and will impact the type of contracts and consumers the operator will be able to attract,” Dewshi says.

Violation rate thresholds vary by operator, depending on the number of vehicles and drivers in the fleet, but the worst offenders could face sanctions including plate seizure, suspension or cancellation.

Dewshi says the ministry provides information about operators in the form of a document known as a CVOR Abstract, which comes in three forms:

  • Public CVOR Abstract (Level I): A one-page document available to the general public summarizing an operator’s record over a two-year period.

  • Carrier CVOR Abstract (Level II): Available only to the operator or their authorized agent, this document includes summary data over a two-year period, as well as detailed event data for collisions, convictions and inspections for a five-year period.

  • CVOR Driver Abstract: A five-year record of collisions associated with a conviction of the driver for a safety-related offence, as well as convictions and inspections relating to the driver’s commercial vehicle use.

“Operators ought to review their CVOR Abstracts every three months to ensure they are aware of their Carrier Safety Rating,” Dewshi says. “It may also be advisable to implement a policy to review CVOR Abstracts after every inspection, collision, conviction or sanction, as this will affect their safety rating.”

She advises companies to embrace voluntary safety programs, including policies, procedures and activities to address issues relating to the safe use and operation of commercial vehicles.

“Although not compulsory under the Highway Traffic Act, safety programs are strongly recommended for operators,” Dewshi says. “Not only do they promote safety measures — they also reduce the frequency and severity of violations."

Stay tuned for part two, where Dewshi will explain the importance of tracking your safety rating.

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