Data released by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) last Thursday is showing that one in five collisions occurring on OPP-patrolled roads are transport truck-related crashes. Though many factors have contributed to these accidents and highway safety threats, the most prevalent by far has been vehicles in poor operating condition.
The OPP's findings are drawn from the five-year period between 2012 and 2016. During that time, there were 1,342 fatal motor vehicle collisions on OPP-patrolled roads and 266 of them involved transport trucks. There were 330 casualties in that span, 44 of which were drivers of transport trucks, while 286 were in cars or similar small vehicles.
As the statistics show, transport trucks in poor operating condition present a particularly high risk of prompting mass accidents. Not only is the event of the crash itself a danger to anyone in the immediate vicinity of it, often the contents of transport trucks will contain chemicals that risk severe consequences if released.
In hopes of minimizing the damage caused by these sorts of hazardous events, the OPP has once again begun targeting transport trucks as part of its Operation Corridor program. Already, this year's edition has proved both impactful and troubling.
This past weekend the OPP organized a 24-hour police blitz that pulled over more than 700 commercial transport trucks for inspection across Ontario. Of those 700, 113 were charged with having missing or defective equipment, and 41 were taken out of service altogether. Other charges levied included 127 speeding violations, 78 for seatbelts, 57 for following too close, and 40 for distracted driving.
Clearly Ontario has a long way to go before transport truck-related crashes and the behaviour that enables them are no longer a common occurrence.