TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are conducting a blitz this week on the province's highways, paying special attention to heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and they're doing it from a new angle.
OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair said the group is using the two OPP Class 8 tractors - normally reserved for hauling police vehicles around Ontario - during the week to give them a better view of distracted drivers in the Greater Toronto Area.
"Starting with this initiative, we are enhancing our observational investigative abilities on the road. Officers will now be conducting patrols in transport trucks," said Blair. "By giving our officers an enhanced vantage point they will be better positioned to detect transport truck drivers that are distracted, or engaging in other dangerous behaviors behind the wheel."
Officers across the province, along with aerial patrols, will also be participating in the blitz the OPP is calling Operation Safe Trucking.
Blair said the Highway Safety Division of the OPP has responded to more than 6,200 collisions involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on provincially patrolled roads since the beginning of 2017. Of those 72 were fatal, causing the deaths of 87 people. More than 1,000 others involved personal injury. More than 5,000 of the crashes involved property damage.
Blair says collisions have real social and economic impacts even for those not involved in them directly, with everything from the loss of life, to medical treatment costs, loss of productivity, and the disruption in the movement of goods and people due to highway backups costing business and individuals.
"The vast majority of [collisions] are attributed to poor driving behaviors, and they are completely preventable," said Blair.