Heavy vehicle safety

There is no room for compromise when it comes to road safety. This is why the use of heavy vehicles for commercial purposes is regulated by a number of organizations in Quebec. 

Heavy vehicle owners must do their part to ensure that their fleet remains mechanically sound. 

Before going on the road… they must be registered!

If your name is on the registration certificate of your heavy vehicle then you need to be registered on the Register of owners and operators of heavy vehicles. This is done through the Commission des transports du Québec (CTQ). 

Registering is mandatory before you can operate your heavy vehicles or put them on the road, even if they are licensed. 

What’s the meaning of “operator”?
  • An operator owns or leases a heavy vehicle.
  • Operators can use a heavy vehicle for their own needs or as a work tool or piece of equipment.
  • Operators provide a transportation service for goods or people, or a roadside assistance service. 

Remember to keep your CTQ record up-to-date and report any changes made to your vehicle fleet. 

Mechanical maintenance schedule

Each of your heavy vehicles must undergo mechanical maintenance at least once every six months. The mandatory periodic mechanical inspection, which is performed by an SAAQ agent, is not considered maintenance.

You may delegate the mechanical maintenance of your fleet to a repair centre or to another person. However, you remain responsible for the maintenance performed as well as its frequency. 

During maintenance, all parts of the vehicle that may affect safety must be inspected to ensure they are in good working order. 

Not sure where to start? The SAAQ provides samples of maintenance sheets that specify what you need to inspect.

You must keep the maintenance sheets for each vehicle for two years while the vehicle is in use, and for one year after disposal of the vehicle. 

In the event of a mechanical defect

A vehicle with a minor mechanical defect must be repaired within 48 hours, otherwise the heavy vehicle cannot be used on the road. 

This also applies to vehicles requiring major repairs. 

In any event, you must indicate the repairs made on the vehicle’s maintenance sheet. 

When is a mechanical inspection mandatory?

Depending on the type of vehicle, you are required to have your vehicle undergo a mechanical inspection every 6 or 12 months.

This inspection is carried out at one of SAAQ’s service outlets


The mechanical inspection must be carried out even if the vehicle has undergone mandatory mechanical maintenance. It serves as proof to the authorities that your heavy vehicles are safe to operate at the time the inspection is carried out. 

Proof that your vehicle is safe

If your vehicle is deemed safe, an inspection sticker is affixed to it. 

However, if a defect is found, you’ll need to have it repaired before receiving the inspection sticker. 

If the defect is a minor one, you’ll have 48 hours to have it repaired. If you exceed this deadline, your vehicle can no longer be used on the road. 

In the case of a major defect, you cannot drive your vehicle. The vehicle must be repaired and receive an inspection sticker before it is authorized for use on the road. 

Do you have a maintenance program for your vehicle?

Have your preventative maintenance program (PMP) recognized by the SAAQ. If your PMP complies with SAAQ requirements, your vehicle could be exempt from periodic mechanical inspections. This will be the mechanical maintenance schedule adopted for your fleet.

Your maintenance program does not make you any less responsible for road safety. In fact, you’ll be required to: 

  • Have qualified people do the mechanical maintenance
  • Have your vehicles repaired
  • Affix the compliance sticker on each of your vehicles
  • Fill out and keep the maintenance sheets
  • Observe the mechanical maintenance schedule
  • Maintain records 

Remember to notify the SAAQ whenever you add or remove a vehicle from your commercial fleet's preventative maintenance program.

A record for each heavy vehicle  

You must keep a heavy vehicle record containing specific information and documents that provide a comprehensive account of all maintenance work on the vehicle. 

The vehicle record contains: 

  • Maintenance sheets 
  • Proof of compliance if the vehicle was subject to a manufacturer’s recall  
  • Circle check reports
  • Mechanical maintenance invoices

Reduce blind spots with front-view mirrors

They are not mandatory, but front-view mirrors have been proven effective, especially in the city. A study has shown that they improve blind spot visibility in heavy vehicles. These mirror add-ons allow drivers to see better in problematic blind spot areas: in the front and on the front right side of the vehicle. 

Installing front-view mirrors is an affordable and efficient solution. Why go without?

Is safety your priority?

To ensure the safety of all motorists, the SAAQ maintains a heavy vehicle driver conduct record. 

This document is your safety record. It includes: 

  • Safety rating given by the CTQ
  • Score and number of points not to be reached (threshold)
  • The results of company inspections
  • Driving suspensions due to non-compliance with driving and resting hours
  • Accidents and Highway Safety Code violations 
  • Events related to alcohol-impairment 
  • Seat belt violations

Check your heavy vehicle driver conduct record frequently. This is the best way to keep track of what's going on in your record and make any necessary changes. 

One thing is certain, your score counts, and it is monitored by the SAAQ and the CTQ. The CTQ could impose corrective measures or even prohibit your heavy vehicles from being driven.   

Are you a heavy vehicle operator?

There are additional responsibilities if you operate heavy vehicles for commercial purposes, including:

  • Cargo securement
  • Load and size 
  • Hours of driving and rest
  • Circle check 
  • Special driving permit (if loads and dimensions are not in compliance)

Find out more!

In collaboration with: Mario Vaillancourt, Public Relations Officer for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ)