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‘Dead angles’

MONTREAL, Que. - Quebec truckers frustrated with cars driving in their blind spots may see some relief this year thanks to a new "Watch the Blind Spots" campaign.Highway signs, radio and newspaper ads...


A MESSAGE THAT STICKS: Drivers are told to stay out of 'dead angles'.
A MESSAGE THAT STICKS: Drivers are told to stay out of 'dead angles'.

MONTREAL, Que. – Quebec truckers frustrated with cars driving in their blind spots may see some relief this year thanks to a new “Watch the Blind Spots” campaign.

Highway signs, radio and newspaper ads, and thousands of stickers to put on semi-trailers are putting motorists on notice: Driving in trucks’ blind spots, following too closely, or cutting in front of rigs and then braking quickly is potentially deadly.

According to a study conducted by Professor Michel Gou of Ecole Polytechnique at the University of Montreal, about 30 deaths and 530 serious or slight injuries can be attributed every year to accidents involving trucks and light vehicles that are caused when light vehicles drive in blind spots.

“It is hard to quantify the extent of the problem,” says Claude Pigeon, the executive vice-president of the Quebec Trucking Association (QTA), “but it is a problem that is being reported to us by our members and their drivers.

“On the Decarie Expressway (drivers are) constantly having to look in their mirrors, but they are never sure if there is a car in their blind spot.”

On June 15, Transports Quebec and the Societe de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) launched an associated awareness program called Angles Mort (the literal translation is dead angles). It included eight weeks of 30-second radio spots and advertisements in Quebec newspapers. A graphic poster was also designed, which shows a bird’s-eye view of cars driving in red-colored danger areas around a truck.

The poster itself is popping up in the form of 325 signs put up along highways across the province, and 13,000 self-adhering stickers measuring nearly 10 by 20 inches have been handed out to truckers for their trailers or tractors.

The campaign fulfills one of the 14 recommendations in a government-industry report on heavy vehicle safety, made public in August 1999.

Another recommendation made in the report refers to the need for distributing more information on the maneuverability of large trucks. Next January, SAAQ will be updating the driver’s guide for new automobile drivers with an item describing the maneuvering limits of large trucks.

Questions about truck maneuverability may also find their way into car driver exams – another recommendation made in the study.

“Now that the government knows that it is an important point, it is just a matter of time before they include (blind spot questions) in the exam,” says Pigeon.

Truckers can obtain the stickers from SAAQ; the QTA; and the Association des Proprietaires de Camions Remorques Independants de Quebec (APCRIQ), an association of owner/operators in the province. n


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