Human error to blame in recent collisions: OTA

by Truck News

TORONTO, Ont. — After several high-profile commercial vehicle collisions, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says the key to commercial vehicle safety is improving on the human element of truck safety performance:
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), mechanical fitness is a factor in less than 2% of fatal collisions involving trucks. When examining those same collisions, the driver of the truck was shown to be driving properly 70% of the time.
“This data reflects the elevated level of commitment to road safety by both professional truck drivers and fleet managers, but it also shows that if we are going to improve truck safety in any meaningful sense, the opportunities are related to human factors,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski.
There are multiple areas where the trucking industry is currently working with research institutes and various government organizations to address human factors related to commercial vehicle safety:
  • OTA and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) partnered to introduce mandatory entry level training for commercial drivers. Ontario is the only province that requires mandatory training for truck drivers, which provides new entrants practical industry experience, making them safer drivers from the start of their career.
  • The introduction of the speed limiter rule for commercial vehicles in 2008.
  • The recent introduction of the mandatory installation of electronic stability control (ESC).
  • The mandatory introduction of electronic logging devices.
  • In 2016, OTA and the Canadian Trucking Alliance formed a working relationship with the Transportation Research Injury Foundation to examine education, enforcement and technology options to improve factors related to distracted driving.
  • The OTA lead the development of a working group consisting of the OPP, MTO and OTA to examine ways to improve commercial motor vehicle safety, including distracted driving. This group will meet for the first time this month.
Most trucking companies have already introduced company policies to manage driver behavior such as reviewing engine and satellite data to monitor hard braking incidents and developing progressive discipline and education for their drivers. Carriers are also starting to introduce technologies to monitor driver alertness and collision mitigation systems such as forward collision warning systems and automatic braking. Preliminary data shows such technology could eliminate rear end collisions involving commercial motor vehicles by up to 70%.
“There is a reason why since the mid-90’s we have seen a 66% decline in the fatality rate from large truck collisions despite an increase in truck traffic of 75%,” added Laskowski. “Our companies and professional drivers are committed to improving road safety.”

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  • I do agree the main cause of these accidents is inattention….how else do you drive, at speed, squarely into the back of someone….BUT… something else is going on in the way traffic accidents or other lane closure events are handled. In Ontario, the extreme sudden slowing of traffic seems to happen WAY to often…I don’t see it nearly as often anywhere else. Inattention is the root cause, but we live in that kind of world now unfortunately…we all see the amount of texting, video watching etc and that isn’t going to go away…laws or not….so they need to look at the big picture. Sounds like they are just going to have a blitz, write a new law and just have press conferences blaming only drivers and patting themselves on the back…and solve nothing.

  • When the government decides to get serious about distracted driving and mandatory collision systems currently available for most trucks these type of accidents will reduce. Instead we’re focusing on ELDs not worrying about how we handle marijuana typical Government

  • The transport companies will for sure have to be very vigilant after this stupid liberal POT policy.
    More expenses will be just for random drug testing and after all of that there will be either rehab or drug avoidance courses and drivers complaining the rule would be against their charter of rights.
    It is not too bad now but how about having these pot head behind the wheel of a semi ???Let get Remote control trucks a bit like the US with their long range Drones. After all of that their would be no driver shortage LOL