SUDBURY -- Improving commercial vehicle safety was the aim of a recent Ontario Provincial Police campaign called "Operation Safe Driver."

The initiative ran July 12-18 and resulted in hundreds of charges on our northern highways.

Speeding was the No. 1 charge laid during the campaign, with OPP officers out on the road focusing on improving commercial vehicle safety.

"Our investigations revealed that speeding, unsafe lane changes, improper passing, and other driving behaviours were the main contributing factors in last year's fatal collisions in regard to commercial motor vehicles," said OPP Const. Michelle Coulombe.

In the Sudbury area, traffic incident management and enforcement (TIME) officers teamed with the Ministry of Transportation to conduct inspections for defective equipment and safety violations.

"The inspections are done to ensure and promote road safety," said Aaron Smith, an MTO transportation enforcement officer.

"Our goal is the protection of all road users. Our goal is to save lives and prevent injuries."

Fines can range from $100 to several thousand dollars.

Fines as high as $50,000

"Fines can go as high as $50,000 for a truck or a bus that a wheel comes off," Smith said. "It seems steep, but I have seen first-hand the carnage that can cause if a wheel flies off large commercial vehicles."

Police said distracted driving is also one of the leading cause of crashes involving commercial vehicles.

"Make sure that they get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel and to drive without any distractions, so any electronic log books or cell phones wait until they are stopped in a safe place," said Coulombe.

OPP detachments across the northeast took part in Operation Safe Driver, a North American campaign.

Other charges in the region include following too closely, defective equipment and one driver was suspended for registering in the warn range.