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Road Safety Vision 2010 falling short of goals

OTTAWA, Ont. - A third-party independent mid-term review of Road Safety Vision 2010, a road safety plan adopted by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and endorsed by the Council of...

OTTAWA, Ont. – A third-party independent mid-term review of Road Safety Vision 2010, a road safety plan adopted by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and endorsed by the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety in 2001, shows the commercial vehicle sector is performing dismally when it comes to reducing accident-related fatalities and serious injuries.

But Canadian trucking industry insiders say it’s the performance of provincial/territorial governments and the CCMTA that’s dismal when it comes to enforcing legislation and technologies that would help improve commercial vehicle safety.

The mid-term report, released by the Canadian Traffic Institute in July, shows the commercial vehicle sector has not only failed abysmally to reach the overall 20% target for reductions in accident-related fatalities and serious injuries, but that fatalities have actually decreased only slightly (0.5%) and serious injuries have increased (11.6%) since the initiative kicked off in 2001.

For both fatalities and serious injuries, the difference between targets and reality is vast.

Provinces which have performed particularly badly include (for fatalities) Manitoba, Alberta, Newfoundland, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, while dramatic increases in serious injury crashes have been seen in Newfoundland, Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec.

“Although there is substantial growth in the freight task, more effective interventions are clearly required to arrest the increase in serious injury crashes let alone meet the RSV 2010 target,” says the report.

Program initiatives which are supposed to have helped decrease commercial vehicle-related fatalities and injuries are listed as follows: the new National Safety Rating System, which came into effect in January of this year; the new Hours-of-Service regime; enforcement of cargo securement regulations; enforcement of the new National Safety Code threshold; provincial adoption of related pre- and post-trip inspections; improved education and training of commercial vehicle drivers; improved overall enforcement; provincial support for federal regulations.

But according to the report, as of July: Not all jurisdictions had adopted regulations in harmony with the federal government’s National Safety Rating System; compliance with load securement regulations in Quebec and Nova Scotia is spotty; B.C. and Ontario are lacking in their compliance with the National Safety Code threshold; B.C., Manitoba and Newfoundland are not yet compliant with pre-and post-trip inspection regulations; education and training of commercial vehicle drivers and enforcement personnel is uneven across the jurisdictions; enforcement activities focus only on the vehicle and/or are not present in some jurisdictions and; a lack of support for federal regulations still appears to exist in some jurisdictions.

RSV 2010 programs and activities overall, according to the report, lack focus, or simply do not exist. And official evaluation of these programs has yet to be carried out, says the report, which goes on to recommend the use of speed limiters and fatigue monitoring technologies, as well as national training standards for driver education, better enforcement and routing and even roadside saliva testing for methamphetamines (speed).

RSV 2010’s poor grades when it comes to the reduction of accident-related fatalities and serious injuries come as no surprise to Canadian Trucking Alliance president and CEO David Bradley: “Of course, we are always disappointed when the industry is being portrayed in a negative light with regard to safety,” Bradley says of the report.

“Whether the targets for Vision 2010 were realistic or ever really had the full support of government, the industry, at least through CTA and the provincial associations are prepared to take responsibility on behalf of the industry and continue to put forward responsible proposals to government – e.g., speed limiter activation, mandatory EOBR usage, etc. However, the response from government, collectively through CTA to these initiatives is lacking. I think the interim report does an adequate job of describing how and why CCMTA is failing to meet the four strategic objectives it set for Road Safety Vision 2010 – poor implementation, a fragmented approach, etc. It also intimates at the lack of clear political will (in some jurisdictions at least) to take meaningful action. Maybe they can do a better job in developing and following through on a vision for 2010, because I don’t see the will or urgency to today.”

He adds: “The vast majority of people in the industry would have no idea that CCMTA’s vision even exists. Notwithstanding, the industry is so far ahead of government on the safety file; if only CCMTA were able to truly work in cooperation with the associations and if only more of our politicians were prepared to do the right thing. National adoption of the mandatory activation of speed limiters for example – by all provinces, not just Ontario and Quebec – would be a bold and meaningful start.”

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