ORILLIA, Ont. – Mark the date on the calendar: June 17 is when the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are having a safety blitz.
Run under the name Operation Corridor, the OPP describe the program as an “annual 24-hour highway safety initiative that focuses on high police visibility, enforcement and safety education aimed at commercial truck drivers who travel on Ontario’s major highways.”
According to the OPP, there is a need to increase safety awareness among drivers and get unsafe trucks off the road because of the potential for harm is greater in an accident involving trucks.
“Large trucks do far more damage in collisions by virtue of their size and there is also a long list of things that can go wrong if a commercial vehicle’s equipment is not in good condition and properly secured. There is no room for error and we expect all truck drivers to keep a perfect scorecard when it comes to how they operate their rig and inspect and maintain their equipment,” says Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division, said every year people are killed or injured because of tires or other equipment coming off transport trucks and colliding with vehicles in their path.
“Throughout 2013, the OPP pulled over more than 22,000 commercial vehicles across the province. Our officers ended up removing nearly 2,000 trucks from the road for being unsafe to drive and laying over 1,700 defective equipment-related charges,” said Bell. “Combine these offences with dangerous driving behaviours such as the more than 3,300 speeding charges we laid against commercial vehicle drivers last year and this has all the right ingredients for more tragedy on our roads.”
Further statistics from 2014 reveal the OPP investigated more than 8,400 collisions that involved large commercial vehicles with 68 of those resulting in at least one death. In 2012 the OPP investigated almost 13,500 commercial vehicle collisions and the number of fatal crashes in this category reached a five-year high at 99.
Operation Corridor is conducted in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), and according to the OPP, it just isn’t about finding trucks with safety problems, “the initiative also allows officers to acknowledge the many drivers who do operate and maintain their commercial vehicles properly and contribute to safer roads for all.”
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