Board identifies causes of Quebec crash

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MONTREAL, QC – A chain of events — including tight following distances and the unexpected application of another truck’s emergency brakes — ultimately led to the death of a truck driver on the Metropolitan Expressway, Quebec’s workplace health and safety board has determined.

Gilbert Prince, a driver with Enterprise Gestion Georges and Robert, died at the scene of the August 9 collision on Route A40. Smoke from the resulting fire was reportedly seen as much as 30 kilometers away.

It all began when a Bombardier fuel truck stopped unexpectedly on Lajeunesse Street, according to Commission des norms, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST). The cube van that was following it was able to stop in time, but a Givesco flatbed to its rear ended up hitting the back of the cube van. Prince’s fuel tanker collided with those.

Prince was trapped in his heavily damaged cab. The fire ignited under that. Another driver involved in the collision was unable to free him.

The emergency brakes on the Bombardier truck were triggered by a safety switch, when a metal door began to open. Fasteners on the door’s locking mechanism were improperly tightened and had vibrated loose, CNESST says. To compound matters, Prince was traveling too close to the flatbed. Given the weights and speeds involved, he would have needed 76.7 meters to stop. He was traveling only 31 meters to the rear.

The Bombardier truck had faced this issue in the past – once on January 26, and three times on January 29, CNESST says. Two of those times it happened on the same highway. Used for refueling at an airport, it wasn’t on the road again until August 9.

The truck was placed Out of Service following the collision.

For a full copy of the report, visit:

To view an animation of the crash, visit


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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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