OTA defends industry record in wake of crashes

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TORONTO, ON – The Ontario Trucking Association is coming to the defense of the industry’s reputation following a series of high-profile commercial vehicle collisions.

Citing figures from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, it notes that mechanical fitness plays a role in fewer than 2% of fatal collisions involving trucks, and of those collisions the truck driver was 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 association president Stephen Laskowski.

Work around human factors has included the introduction of Mandatory Entry Level Training, speed limiters, Electronic Stability Controls, and a push for Electronic Logging Devices. The association is also working with the Transportation Research Injury Foundation to study factors related to distracted driving, while it is joining police and government officials to examine factors such as distracted driving that play a role in commercial vehicle safety.

Technologies that monitor driver alertness, and collision mitigation systems, can help to reduce rear-end collisions by up to 70%, the association says.

“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. 

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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