Trucks boast strong safety record in Ontario

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TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Trucking Association is again calling for the better training of car drivers, with the release of the province’s annual report on road safety showing that car drivers are more likely to be at fault when they collide with tractor-trailers.

The results of the Ministry of Transportation report, which includes numbers for 1997, show that car drivers are more likely to have been driving improperly, to have been drinking, or to have been operating cars with mechanical defects when they are involved in accidents with tractor-trailers.

“The trucking industry is prepared to accept responsibility for the safety of its drivers and vehicles, and while there is always room for improvement, there is also an onus on car drivers to enhance their knowledge of how to safely share the road with tractor-trailers,” association president David Bradley says.

The latest report shows that tractor-trailers represented three per cent of the vehicles involved in all reportable collisions in 1997 – down from 3.2 per cent in 1996.

The number of fatalities from accidents involving tractor-trailers remained constant at 91, but the number of personal injury and property damage accidents dropped 1.7 per cent in 1997. In total, tractor-trailers represent 1.2 per cent of the vehicles involved in all personal injury collisions and 1.7 per cent of the vehicles involved in all property damage collisions.

Tractor-trailer drivers were deemed to be driving properly in 71.6 per cent of the fatal accidents in which they were involved. Automobile drivers were driving properly in 45.4 per cent of the accidents.

Defective equipment was found to be a factor in one per cent of fatal accidents in 1997, compared to 2.2 per cent in 1996. Mechanical defects in cars involved in fatal accidents with trucks were cited as a factor in 3.4 per cent of cases.

Alcohol was only a factor for one per cent of the truckers involved in fatal accidents, compared to 24 per cent of the automobile drivers.

Between 1988 and 1997, fatalities involving trucks dropped by 20.5 per cent, even though the number of trucks (Class A and D) increased by eight per cent over the same period.

In terms of miles traveled, the collision rate for heavy trucks has declined from 7.9 per million kilometres traveled, to 5.4 per million kilometres.

The Ontario Trucking Association will soon unveil a new video on how to share the road with a truck. n

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