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News  August 1, 2014 4:03PM

OTA defends industry in wake of Burlington Skyway (PR) disaster



TORONTO, Ont. — A truck driver yesterday took the Burlington Skyway out of commission with a raised dump bucket and was then charged with impaired driving, giving the industry a black eye and causing mainstream media to examine the issue of truck safety and the impairment of drivers.

To this, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) responded by pointing out that truck drivers are the least likely of all motorists on the road to be impaired by drugs and alcohol. The association noted also that they’ve been involved in zero alcohol-related fatalities.

“We want to ensure the motoring public that the actions this individual is accused of in no way reflect the professionalism of the hundreds of thousands men and women who operate their trucks in a safe and courteous manner every day,” says Stephen Laskowski, senior vice-president of the OTA. “The fact that truck drivers are involved in 0% of fatal collisions where alcohol or drugs is a factor speaks volumes to the professionalism of  Ontario’s truck drivers and the companies that employ them.”

According to the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report for 2011, alcohol was involved in 0% of fatal collisions involving heavy trucks and drivers of large trucks were less likely to be impaired by drugs or alcohol than all other drivers.

In the US, only 0.23% of all unannounced inspections in 2013 resulted in a CDL holder being placed out of service and cited for violating federal regulations governing alcohol consumption.

The OTA also reminded the public that drivers who cross into the US are subject to alcohol and drug testing requirements.

It also points out that Canadian employers of commercial drivers who operate only within Canada, can deveop a policy that allows for pre-employment and random testing, provided employees who are drug-dependent are accommodated.


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5 Comments » for OTA defends industry in wake of Burlington Skyway (PR) disaster
  1. R Elliott says:

    I disagree with this articles claims of “To this, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) responded by pointing out that truck drivers are the least likely of all motorists on the road to be impaired by drugs and alcohol.” “We want to ensure the motoring public that the actions this individual is accused of in no way reflect the professionalism of the hundreds of thousands men and women who operate their trucks in a safe and courteous manner every day,”
    Please read on regarding an eye witness account about a Canadian truck driver from out west!
    Apparently it may be against the constitution for pre-employment drug and alcohol testing for commercial drivers in Ontario and possibly Canada. I think this should change to the same standards for cross border commercial drivers, then a lot of this will stop. Random drug and alcohol testing should be implemented for commercial drivers In this country as soon as possible. If one is operating vehicles as well as any type of machinery be it a forklift or an electrical pallet lifter to a commercial vehicle should fall under these guidelines. I’m betting a lot more goes under the radar of under the influence than is realized until a tragedy such as this or someone dies. I personally witnessed and Canadian commercial driver in a well known truck-stop in Montreal some time ago reeking of marijuana leave the truck-stop and drive off with an
    empty set of B train flat-decks to who knows where. Where will this obvious lack of regulation go?
    It seems to be happening way too often these days?

  2. stephen says:

    Very well said I have interviewed many truck drivers and when I told them that we do a drug test every other month for drivers staying in Canada they were no longer interested. I seen many of these truck drivers working for large trucking companies.

  3. rick gregoire says:

    In response to R Elliot, Just what drivers need, more regulations.If the rest of the driving public was subjected to the same scrutiny as a commercial driver, they would scream loud and long.I might remind everybody that the driver was only charged, not convicted.However, hitting a bridge with your scrap bucket up does qualify as a fail.When is the last time you circle checked your Bimmer?

  4. rick gregoire says:

    By the way, Mr Elliot, there is pre employment drug sceening and random testing already in use.I wonder if I can talk the gov’t into opening up a chain of automobile inspection stations.Any chance (not)

  5. Russ Hodges says:

    I appreciate the OTA for putting forward the point of view from the trucking side of the story , but these facts must be reported in the mainstream media. Papers like the Toronto Star , Globe & Mail , and the rest of the ‘I hate trucks crowd, unless they are carrying something I need, they are the only print media that the general public read. Thanks to Truck News for doing its best to spread the message.

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