The issue of distracted driving among all road users now poses the highest risk of collision, surpassing impairment and speeding. Trucking is not immune to this growing problem on Canadian highways, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has observed.
How CTA plans to reduce distracted driving was the subject of discussions with the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) at its annual meeting in Scarborough last week. Together with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and road safety groups including police, insurance, and government, CTA was invited to create a “roadmap” to curbing distracted driving related collisions.
“There is no silver bullet to eliminating incidences of distracted driving. Solutions will need to come from government and industry, so we are developing a holistic, ‘roadmap’ approach with TIRF and input from our membership that explores four key areas – prevention and planning, monitoring, enforcement and evaluation. We believe this strategy will help us address this growing road safety concern for all motorists,” said Geoff Wood, Sr. Vice President, Policy, CTA.
Concepts to be included in the roadmap are still being fine-tuned, but a key part of the CCDD meeting was putting together a detailed business case. CTA says there are several action items in the short-term that include:
- Incorporating distracted driving prevention messaging into entry level and ongoing training for truck drivers;
- Moving forward on adopting proven technologies such as ELDs, which reduce cognitive distraction, and focusing on the feasibility of regulations for forward-facing cameras for all heavy commercial vehicles;
- Working with federal and provincial governments to better focus on-road enforcement on known human factors that contribute to collisions with heavy commercial vehicles and supporting enforcement and licence agencies to pursue meaningful proactive consequences for those caught driving distracted;
- Taking steps with government through pilot testing and incentives in identifying the next set of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for heavy commercial vehicles that can play a meaningful role in reducing distraction and ensuring they are ready for Canadian operating conditions.
“We believe there are areas where can have an impact in the shorter term and we would like to get working on those plans with our road safety partners as soon as possible,” said Wood.
To begin chipping away at addressing this complex issue, CTA was tasked by its Board to establish a working group of carriers and industry suppliers in partnership with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) to produce a “Road Map” Policy paper on the issue of distraction. The paper will focus on technologies that can reduce distraction; identifying return-on-investment related to technologies; the feasibility of mandating certain technologies and recommended best management practices for drivers, dispatch, operations and customers.