The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has released the latest edition of the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR). And once again it shows that trucks are the safest vehicles and truck drivers are the safest drivers on the road, says David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association.
The ORSAR, which contains the results for 2012, states that large trucks (including straight trucks which require a Class D driver’s licence) as well as tractor-trailers (which require a Class A driver’s license), represented just 4.5 % of the total number of vehicles involved in all collisions in Ontario. Tractors and tractor-trailers represented only 2.4% of the total number of vehicles involved in all collisions that year.
There were 98 large trucks involved in fatal collisions in 2012 of a total population of 273,765. Of the trucks that require a Class A driver’s licence (tractor-trailers) to operate, there were only 61 – or .02% of the total registered large truck population — involved in fatal collisions. In total, there were 194,746, registered trucks requiring a Class A licence.
There were 100 fatalities in collisions involving all types of large trucks in 2012, one fewer than the previous year. While this number represents 17.6% of all fatalities, the report also confirms what has been the case for years – that trucks and truck drivers are not usually the cause of the fatal collisions they are involved in. Of the 98 large trucks involved in fatal crashes, not one had an apparent defect that may have contributed to the crash.
In comparison to other drivers, large truck drivers involved in fatal collisions are more likely to be “driving properly.” In terms of the number of fatal collisions, the driver of the large truck was driving properly 68% of the time vs 39% for the other driver in the same fatal collisions. In terms of the number of persons killed in collisions with large trucks in 2012, the truck driver was determined to have been driving properly in 79% of the fatalities – the highest level in the past five years and 15.2 percentage points better than in 2008.
In addition, truck drivers are far less likely to have been drinking or impaired by alcohol or drugs – 2% compared to 17% for other drivers involved in the same crashes. In 2012, there was only one recorded collision involving a commercial vehicle where alcohol was involved.
In terms of the longer-term perspective, OTA compiled data from the ORSAR reports going back to 1993 and found that despite a 79% increase in the number of large trucks registered in Ontario, the number of large truck fatalities decreased from 202 in 1993 to 100 in 2012 – a reduction of 50%.
“Highway safety is an ever-evolving thing,” says Bradley. “While the trucking industry has an enviable record in terms of safety, our members are dedicated to continuous improvement and to the implementation of meaningful measures to reduce collisions further.”
In recent years the association has championed the introduction of legislation to mandate the activation of speed limiters on all heavy trucks; a universal mandate to replace paper log books used in the enforcement of truck driver hours of service regulations with an electronic logging device; a manufacturing standard that would make electronic stability control part of new truck purchase packages; and mandatory entry level training for truck drivers.