Conduct Review Policies for Heavy Vehicle Owners, Operators and Drivers

New conduct review policies for heavy vehicle owners, operators and drivers will come into force on January 1, 2023.

The conduct review policies that apply to heavy vehicle owners and operators (HVOOsHeavy vehicle owners and operators) and to heavy vehicle drivers were developed in order to meet the requirements of the Act respecting owners, operators and drivers of heavy vehicles. These policies govern the creation of heavy vehicle owner, operator and driver records. They also define the conduct review process and the procedures used by the SAAQ when intervening with heavy vehicle drivers, owners or operators (heavy vehicle users) that present a risk to road safety or to the integrity of the road network.

Given that these policies had not been revised for several years, the SAAQ undertook to revise them in their entirety in order to take into account both the evolving socioeconomic and regulatory context of the freight and passenger transportation industry, and the government’s goals regarding road safety and the integrity of the road network. The revision process was carried out in collaboration with government partners and industry representatives between 2015 and 2019. Before the new policies could be implemented, important changes also needed to be made to the existing computer programs and systems in order to accommodate the requirements of the new policies.

Consult the new policies before they take effect:

Objectives of the revision process

The policies were revised with a view to :

  • making the policies more effective at allowing the SAAQ to identify and intervene with heavy vehicle users that present a real risk to road safety or to the integrity of the road network
  • introducing new awareness-raising measures while continuing to intervene with heavy vehicle users through a series of gradually escalating steps, with the aim of encouraging heavy vehicle users to correct their conduct and there by avoid having their records referred to the Commission des transports du Québec (CTQTransport commission of Quebec)
  • recognizing good conduct

Monitoring the impact of the new policies

Over the two-year period following the implementation of the new policies, the SAAQ will assess whether the above objectives have been met so that any necessary adjustments to the policies can be made in collaboration with the SAAQ’s partners and industry representatives.

Advantages of the Revised Policies

Analysis has shown that the new policies will not lead to more records being referred to the CTQTransport commission of Quebec. Furthermore, the new policies will make it possible to :

  • better identify heavy vehicle users that present a real risk
  • carry out more specific assessments of heavy vehicle user conduct
  • take into account the size of an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator’s vehicle fleet when assessing critical events
  • take into account the risk of future accidents, based on the events entered in a heavy vehicle user’s record
  • better raise awareness among heavy vehicle users so that they can correct their conduct
  • process conduct records more equitably
  • make conduct review procedures more consistent across the various conduct areas

Principal Changes

  • New conduct areas (separation of the “Operational Safety” conduct area into two new conduct areas)
  • New event-weighting scale
  • Different driver and HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator weightings for some offences
  • New offences taken into consideration
  • New conduct review measures (additional points for repeat offences of the same nature and decreased weighting based on the age of an event)
  • Notices of non-compliance introduced as a means to raise awareness
  • New approach to assessing critical events and vehicle safety
  • New threshold values (number of points that must not be reached)
  • New HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator Good Conduct Recognition Program

For more information on the changes that have been made, refer to the fact sheet that summarizes the policies (PDF, 521.2 ko)This file does not meet the Web accessibility standard..

Coming into Force and Transitional Measures

Barring exceptions, effective January 1, 2023, the new policies will apply retroactively to all events from the previous two years that have already been entered in a heavy vehicle user’s conduct record.

However, the following conduct review and intervention procedures will not be applied retroactively:

  • taking into consideration offences for which a statement of offence has been served or a plea entered pursuant to a municipal bylaw
  • weighting accidents resulting in injury based on whether or not the accident report makes reference to ambulance transportation
  • assessing facility audits on the basis of a new table of failure thresholds (the number of points as of which an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator fails a facility audit)
  • carrying out prevention and awareness-raising interventions in connection with notices of non-compliance

Frequently asked question

1 – Will more HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator and heavy vehicle driver records be referred to the CTQTransport commission of Quebec as a result of this comprehensive revision of the conduct review policies?

No, there will be no change in the number of HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator and heavy vehicle driver records that are referred to the CTQTransport commission of Quebec. However, the revised policies will allow us to better identify heavy vehicle drivers, owners and operators that present a risk to road safety and to the integrity of the road network.

2 – Will the threshold values (number of points that must not be reached) be adjusted to take into account all the changes to the policies?

Yes. For more information, refer to the table of threshold values (number of points that must not be reached) (PDF, 6.1 Mo)This file does not meet the Web accessibility standard..

3 – Where can I find the updated table of threshold values (number of points that must not be reached)?

HVOOsHeavy vehicle owners and operators with a fleet of 100 or fewer vehicles will find the threshold values that apply to them in the Conduct Review Policy for Heavy Vehicle Owners and Operators. As for HVOOsHeavy vehicle owners and operators with a fleet of 101 to 5,000 vehicles, the threshold values that apply in their case can be found in the comprehensive table of threshold values. Heavy vehicle drivers can find the threshold values that apply to them in the Conduct Review Policy for Heavy Vehicle Drivers (PDF, 1.1 Mo)This file does not meet the Web accessibility standard..

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Conduct areas

4 - Have the conduct areas remained the same?

No, the “Operational Safety” conduct area no longer exists and has been replaced by two separate conduct areas: “Traffic Rules,” which includes offences related to the various traffic rules (speed, stop signs, road signs, etc.) and “Use of a Heavy Vehicle,” which includes offences related to the various rules that govern the use of a heavy vehicle (hours of driving and off-duty time, the circle check, cargo securement, etc.).

The other conduct areas remain the same, but a few modifications have been made to them. See the fact sheet (PDF, 521.2 ko)This file does not meet the Web accessibility standard. that summarizes the policies for more details.

5 - Will the two new conduct areas that replace the “Operational Safety” conduct area each have their own threshold values (number of points that must not be reached)?

Yes, new threshold values have been calculated for each new conduct area.

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Events Taken into Consideration as Part of the Conduct Review

6 - Aside from offences committed under the Highway Safety Code (HSCHighway Safety Code) and the Criminal Code (CCCriminal Code), are there any other offences that will be taken into consideration as part of the conduct review?

Yes, offences committed under the following laws and regulations will be taken into consideration :

  • Act respecting owners, operators and drivers of heavy vehicles
  • Transportation Act
  • Regulation respecting road vehicles used for the transportation of school children
  • Regulation respecting road vehicles adapted for the transportation of handicapped persons
  • Municipal bylaws, provided the offences in question have an equivalent HSCHighway Safety Code offence and result in demerit points under the Regulation respecting demerit points

7 - Which offences committed under municipal by-laws will be taken into consideration?

Offences for which a statement of offence was served or a plea entered under a municipal by-law are taken into consideration where the offences in question have an equivalent HSCHighway Safety Code offence and result in demerit points under the Regulation respecting demerit points. These offences are given the same weighting as the equivalent offences under the HSCHighway Safety Code and are entered in the corresponding conduct area. Such offences generally relate to :

  • speeding
  • speed or careless action
  • passing vehicles in a zigzag pattern
  • failing to obey a red traffic light
  • failing to obey a stop sign

The municipality determines which section of the HSCHighway Safety Code is equivalent to the municipal by-law and informs the SAAQ.

8 - Will the events taken into consideration be given the same weighting as before?

No, the weighting scale has been adjusted based on more discriminating criteria that serve mainly to take into account the risk of future accidents. This risk is assessed based on the offences committed and any other events entered in the heavy vehicle user’s record :

  • 1 to 5 points for offences other than a critical offence or a CCCriminal Code offence, in any of the conduct areas
  • 5 points for “driver” out-of-service orders
  • 6 points for CCCriminal Code offences and critical offences

Alcohol- or drug-related driving offences are not given a weighting in a heavy vehicle driver’s record, as they continue to result in the immediate referral of the driver’s record to the CTQTransport commission of Quebec.

The adjustments made to the weighting scale are in line with the updates made in February 2014 to the weighting of offences under the “Load and Size Limits” conduct area.

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Repeat Offences of the Same Nature

9 - What is an “offence of the same nature”?

Offences of the same nature are offences committed under the same section of a law and assigned the same weighting. However, special provisions apply in some cases. Refer to the policies for more information.

10 - Does the notion of “repeat offences of the same nature” take into account the size of an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator’s heavy vehicle fleet?

Yes. In the case of an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator, a repeat-offence limit (number of offences of the same nature that must not be exceeded) is determined based on the number of heavy vehicles in the HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator’s fleet. Additional points are assigned when the number of repeat offences of the same nature exceeds this limit.

Note that in the case of a heavy vehicle driver, additional points are assigned as soon as the driver’s record contains two offences of the same nature.

11 - Are repeat offences of the same nature taken into consideration even when a plea of not guilty has been entered and the case has not yet been heard in court because of the time it takes to go through the court system?

Yes. Repeat offences of the same nature are taken into consideration as soon as a statement of offence or general offence report has been served. However, once an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator or a heavy vehicle driver is found not guilty, the conduct record is automatically adjusted. If, as a result of this adjustment, the HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator no longer exceeds the limit for repeat offences of the same nature, or the heavy vehicle driver no longer has any repeat offences of the same nature, the additional points that had been assigned for repeat offences will be withdrawn.

12 - How are additional points for repeat offences of the same nature calculated for both the corresponding conduct area and the overall conduct area?

Additional points for repeat offences are assigned as follows :

  • Additional points equal to 20% of the threshold value (the number of points that must not be reached) for the corresponding conduct area are added to that conduct area
  • Additional points equal to 20% of the threshold value for the overall conduct area are added to the overall conduct area
Example 1

The conduct record of a heavy vehicle operator with a fleet of 10 heavy vehicles includes four offences of the same nature in the “Load and Size Limits” conduct area. Given the size of the operator’s fleet, the operator cannot exceed three offences of the same nature. The threshold value (the number of points that must not be reached) for the “Load and Size Limits” conduct area is 28 points and the threshold value for the “Operator’s Overall Conduct” conduct area is 70 points. The number of additional points for repeat offences of the same nature is calculated as follows :

  • “Load and Size Limits” conduct area : 20% of 28 points = 5.6 points
  • “Operator’s Overall Conduct” conduct area: 20% of 70 points = 14 points
Example 2

A heavy vehicle driver’s conduct record includes two offences of the same nature in the “Traffic Rules” conduct area. In accordance with the conduct review policy, additional points are assigned as soon as any repeat offences of the same nature are entered in a driver’s record. The threshold value (the number of points that must not be reached) for the “Traffic Rules” conduct area is 16 points and the threshold value for the “Driver’s Overall Conduct” conduct area is 17 points. The number of additional points for repeat offences of the same nature is calculated as follows :

  • “Traffic Rules” conduct area: 20% of 16 points = 3.2 points
  • “Driver’s Overall Conduct ” conduct area: 20% of 17 points = 3.4 points

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Differentiated Weighting for Certain Offences

13 - Are offences committed by a driver and entered in both the driver’s record and the heavy vehicle operator’s record always assigned the same weighting in both records?

No. Certain offences committed by drivers are assigned a higher weighting in the driver’s record than in the HVOO’s record, as they are primarily the driver’s responsibility. Such offences relate to :

  • not having a valid driver’s licence of the appropriate class
  • not complying with seat belt requirements
  • driving while under penalty
  • using a cell phone
  • alcohol- or drug-related driving events

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Age of Events

14 - What does the notion of “age of events” refer to?

The notion of “age of events” has the effect of decreasing the weighting of events by half when they have appeared in an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator’s record for more than one year.

This notion applies to :

  • offences in any of the conduct areas in the HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator’s ongoing conduct review that were committed in Québec or elsewhere in Canada
  • “driver” out-of-service orders
  • major mechanical defects

This notion does not apply to :

  • accidents
  • critical offences

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Facility Audits

15 - Will the failure thresholds (the number of points as of which an HVOOHeavy vehicle owner and operator fails a facility audit) remain the same for both the “Operator” and the “Owner” categories? 

No. The “Operator” and “Owner” categories now have separate failure thresholds when it comes to facility audits. This change is reflected in the corresponding table in the policy. 

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Recognition of Good Conduct

16 – How does the SAAQ plan to recognize the good conduct of HVOOs and heavy vehicle drivers?

The HVOO Good Conduct Recognition Program will be implemented on January 1, 2023. This new program aims to encourage HVOOs to adopt safe behaviour and maintain their good conduct over the long term. The program includes tangible benefits for HVOOs that demonstrate good conduct. For more information, please refer to the Conduct Review Policy for Heavy Vehicle Owners and Operators (PDF, 4.1 Mo)This file does not meet the Web accessibility standard..

The Excellence Program for Heavy Vehicle Drivers will be abolished on January 1, 2023. The decision to do so was made because of the low level of participation and the program’s inability to cover all heavy vehicle drivers whose conduct is exemplary. During the first two years after the revised Conduct Review Policy for Heavy Vehicle Drivers comes into force, the SAAQ will continue to look at ways it can recognize exemplary heavy vehicle driver conduct and may eventually revamp the program.

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Last update: November  9, 2022