Brake condition, poor maintenance blamed for fatal truck crash

Steve Bouchard

MAGOG, Que. – A combination of high speeds and poor maintenance contributed to a workplace accident that claimed the life of Les Sciures Jutras truck driver Sylvain Ferguson, Quebec’s occupational health and safety agency concludes.

The Commission des  normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail’s (CNESST) report has just been released into the Jan. 18, 2019 accident in Magog, Que.

(Photo: iStock)

Ferguson had been scheduled to make his second delivery of the day as he took Exit 32 off Highway 55 and applied the brakes. But the tractor-trailer continued down the grade without slowing.

When he arrived at a T-intersection, Ferguson turned the steering wheel to the left, but at that speed the truck tipped, slid into the ditch, and mowed through utility poles in its path. Then in turned over completely.

Ferguson was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.

The CNESST investigation concluded the tractor-trailer’s speed was too high to negotiate the turn, and that poor maintenance management led to a breakdown of the braking system.

The brake push rods were not properly inspected and adjusted before the truck and trailer hit the road.

Findings of the investigation will be delivered to Quebec trucking associations and schools training truck drivers and heavy vehicle mechanics.

Offences of this nature can levy fines of $17,179 to $ 68,721 for a first offense, and could reach $ 171,804 in the event of a repeat offense, CNESST says.

The mechanic responsible for servicing the truck, 29-year-old Samuel Jutras, is scheduled to make a preliminary court appearance this June in Sherbrooke. He is not expected to contest the charge of criminal negligence causing death.

The investigation report is available at: http://www.centredoc.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/pdf/Enquete/ed004267.pdf

Steve Bouchard

Steve Bouchard started writing about trucks over 20 years ago, making him by far the most experienced trucking journalist in Quebec. Steve is the editor of Quebec’s leading French-language trucking magazine, Transport Routier, published by Newcom Média Québec since its creation in 2000. He is also editor of the associated website transportroutier.ca, and a contributor to Today’s Trucking and Trucknews.com.

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