Crash spike leads to call for vigilance

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Ontario’s Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) is calling on drivers and employers to be “more vigilant” in the wake of an increase in fatal collisions involving heavy vehicles.

Citing figures from the Ontario Provincial Police, it says there were 25 fatal collisions involving large vehicles as of mid June, 25% above levels seen during the same time period in 2017.

The association and its Transportation Advisory Council is asking for drivers and employers to reinforce safe driving habits by eliminating distractions, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting the right amount of sleep or rest. It also reminds people to pay attention when driving, and go beyond compliance by ensuring vehicles are regularly inspected, free from defects, and maintain safe following or braking distances.

The call comes just ahead of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA’s) Operation Safe Driver Week, which runs from July 15 to 21, during which time inspectors will be focusing on unsafe driving behaviors.

“We all share Ontario’s roads and when a tragedy such as a loss of life occurs, we all suffer,” says a letter signed by association president and CEO Enzo Garritano, along with Transportation Advisory Council co-chairs Mike Frolick and Len Poirier. “Our sympathies are extended to those families, friends, and colleagues who are now dealing with these terrible, personal losses.”

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

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  • Truck drivers rushing to beat the clock and double 53 foot trailers in rush hour and bad weather

  • Hello John G,
    I just talked in twitter about this very thing. I’ve been a trucker for 42 years. I have seen this industry fall from grace to rock bottom hell in my time. And it is still down there with No way out, (( Just Yet )).
    I find it interesting, how they talk about trucking fatalities up 25% since last year, but they never tell you, that Truckers At Fault account for just 3% of those crashes. They talk about Driver Distractions, and yet they want to place more Tech in a truck to monitor the trucks functions and so on and so on. Or recently they talked about the Humboldt crash and some lady saying that I need to look out my mirrors every 2 seconds. So why am I looking forwards then? It’s something we learned not to do. Every so often is fine, but not every 2 seconds. It is was why we have been born with peripheral vision, it can alert you enough to see something happening.
    As for Health Eating, and Rest Areas, No Parking Here Signs have EXPLODED everywhere. I can not park where I used to, because Safety Groups have cited them as dangerous areas to park. Which is wild because I work in Dump Trucks now, and I can not even park outside the company I work for to check my truck over and do paperwork, so Now I need to literally go out of my way to be sure all is well.
    It is the Governments on All levels, Federal and Provincial, the MOT, Cops, Trucking Associations who have ALL collaborated to make my life as a trucker Better in their eyes. And yet in my eyes, I have seen this increase and Blame Everyone one of them for the problems within my Industry. It’s like having a 15 years old Remote Control Airplane flyer, telling a Real Pilot how to fly a 747. It is the same here.
    No one wants to control or get rid of License Mills. Just look at this and see why, unqualified truckers are out there.
    In closing, I find this article, unreasonable because, the very people talking about me being vigilant, are in the same category as those who created the situation in the 1st place.
    Thank You

  • The typical compensation model for truck drivers is the problem. The per mile (and often not every mile) pay model motivates drivers to rush and become impatient. Paying people to be productive encourages production and in this case it means getting from A to B as soon as possible on our roadways.

    What I believe needs to happen to better the industry is twofold, more training required to attain a commercial license and second, carriers moving towards a more attractive pay package. By that I mean either hourly pay with overtime or a per day rate that fairly reflects the time traded and the responsibility undertaken.

    Most often drivers are left to absorb the inefficiencies. Specifically, lengthy wait times at shippers or receivers, traffic, weather delays, equipment breakdowns, layovers, border crossing delays, etc. All with little to no pay, which pressures them to push it and make up for lost time in order to stay on schedule and/or maintain earnings for the week.

  • Twin 53’s are not the problem on our highways. Distracted drivers and poorly maintained equipment, as well as inexperienced drivers, is the main reason for the increase in heavy truck accidents. I’ve been driving truck in the GTA and north for 42 years and can attest to this statement as well as many of my colleagues could.