OTTAWA, Ont. — A recent report on road safety shows drivers need better education on how to drive safely around trucks, say CTA officials.
Commercial vehicle drivers involved in fatal collisions were driving properly the majority of the time, according to the 2002 annual report on Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrator’s Road Safety Vision 2010, issued this week by Transport Canada.
This conclusion is reinforced in studies by Canadian and U.S. government authorities in recent years, which have concluded that in fatal accidents involving trucks and other vehicles, the truck driver is not at fault in 75 to 80 per cent of cases, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
“These numbers show one of the areas where governments need to concentrate their efforts in order to have the greatest impact on road safety. Industry-government initiatives to increase car drivers’ awareness of how best to manoeuvre around trucks, avoid blind spots and take into account the longer stopping distances of tractor-trailers are a definite step in the right direction. But the information developed in such campaigns must be made available to literally millions of car drivers if it is going to make a real difference,” says CTA CEO David Bradley.
The CCMTA report also points to the National Safety Code standard on motor carrier safety ratings as a potential contributor to the achievement of Road Safety Vision’s accident reduction targets.
But Bradley questions whether the NSC standard as it is currently applied can have any positive impact on road safety.
“While the safety performance of Canada’s trucking industry is exemplary by any national or international measure, there are still the few bad apples who continue to demonstrate poor safety performance. Those carriers and drivers who are unable or unwilling to operate safely must be removed from the road. Carriers who invest in safety-and they are the vast majority-have been demanding this for years. However, if the safety ratings standard is to be effective, longstanding problems with inconsistent carrier ratings among the provinces must be recognized by governments and resolved soon,” says Bradley.
The report also shows that the involvement of commercial vehicles in serious collisions has remained stable in recent years, despite a significant increase in exposure as measured by traffic volumes.
For the period 1996-2001, the number of serious collisions involving commercial vehicles-including tractor-trailers and straight trucks-changed very little.
However, for that same period, traffic volumes in the for-hire trucking sector jumped by over 40 per cent.
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