A 45-year-old man from Richmond Hill died following a collision involving 3 transport trucks on Highway 401 in Mississauga back in late June, 2018.

This is just one of many news stories regarding transport truck-related deaths, which are on the rise in Ontario, according to data from Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”).

OPP statistics show collisions involving transport trucks are up 10% compared to this time last year. In 2018, there have already been 33 transport-truck related collisions, resulting in 41 deaths from accidents involving transport trucks on OPP-patrolled roads. This is an almost 38% increase compared to last year’s data regarding similar collisions. OPP patrol all provincial highways, including the 400-series highways in Ontario.

In 2018, OPP reports they have investigated more than 3,600 collisions related to commercial motor vehicles on Ontario’s roadways, representing 11% of the total number of collisions (34,461). Of these investigations, a considerable number have shown the truck driver as being the “at-fault” driver.

OPP has also laid more than 1,600 speeding charges, more than 350 distracted driving charges, and more than 960 defective equipment-related charges against truck drivers to date this year.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt stated:

We’re compiling all of the statistics right now trying to determine common causal factors. When it comes down to it, most, if not all of these crashes, come down to some sort of human error.

Poor driving behaviours and moving violations are responsible for many of the crashes related to transport trucks each year.

Truck drivers are also exhibiting dangerous habits, including failures in vehicle maintenance and inspection, non-adherence to hours of service regulations, and unsecured loads.

Brian Patterson, president and CEO of the Ontario Safety League (a traffic safety organization), is of the opinion that there are some transport truck drivers on the road that are “under-trained and under-qualified”.

OPERATION SAFE TRUCKING

During a safety blitz named “Operation Safe Trucking”, which ran between July 15 to 21, 2018, OPP officers pulled more than 650 trucks off the road after they failed roadside safety inspections.

During this safety blitz, OPP stopped 4,254 commercial motor vehicles, laid 2,479 charges, and placed 120 unsafe vehicles out of service. The highway patrol also resulted in 114 distracted driving charges against commercial vehicles.

OPP used aircraft and non-traditional patrol vehicles during the blitz and laid 576 speeding charges, 75 follow too close charges, and 269 additional moving violations charges. OPP also laid charges for defective equipment (214 charges) and improper documentation (794 charges).

HOW TO AVOID OR PREVENT ACCIDENTS WITH COMMERCIAL TRUCKS?

Car drivers must be cognizant that tractor trailers are far less maneuverable than smaller motor vehicles. Tractor trailers start more slowly and take much longer to stop due to their weight.

The lack of safe distance between cars and tractor trailers is one of the leading causes of accidents between the two. Therefore, it is advisable to leave lots of room when changing lanes or passing in front of a tractor trailer.

Tractor trailers also have large blind spots. It is always best to remember that if you cannot see the truck driver or his mirrors, he/she is unable to see your vehicle. Always leave ample distance when following behind a tractor trailer (at least three to four car lengths).

It is also important to always use your turn signals when sharing the road with commercial trucks (and all other vehicles). Due to their size, commercial vehicles require more time and distance to maneuver through traffic. Using your turn signals will allow the truck driver to be aware of your intentions and adjust according.

Driving too closely to a commercial truck increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident. This can occur if the truck brakes suddenly, causing the vehicle to tip over or your vehicle to slide under the trailer, or if the truck experiences a tire blowout, which can hit your vehicle or shatter your windshield.

It is also advisable to avoid unsafe maneuvers around trucks and to give trucks lots of room in poor visibility conditions such as rain, smoke, snow, or fog.

Driving in conditions of heavy rain, ice, high winds, and snow, is very dangerous and it is best to avoid driving under these conditions. Drivers of tractor trailers must drive in all types of treacherous conditions, but choosing not to drive in these conditions can prevent an accident.

It is also important to avoid distractions while driving. Taking your focus off the road puts everyone on the road in danger. It is important to stay focused and avoid the following distractions:

  • Texting;
  • Making phone calls;
  • Having conversations with passengers in your vehicle;
  • Eating;
  • Using a GPS;
  • Adjusting the radio or other features in your vehicle.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, contact Jasmine Daya & Co.. Our personal injury lawyers have over four decades of experience helping motor vehicle victims obtain the compensation they deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will advise whether you may have a case against a negligent truck driver. Contact our office online or at 416-967-9100 today to set up a free consultation to discuss the legal options available to you.