If you plan to drive on an Ontario highway this summer, be extra cautious around large commercial vehicles. In July, the OPP announced that collisions involving transport trucks were up 10 per cent year-over-year, and that fatal collisions were up 38 per cent, resulting in at least 41 deaths. Law enforcement – along with every car accident lawyer in the province – are struggling to explain the recent surge in accidents.
“We’re compiling all of the statistics right now to determine common causal factors,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told the CBC. “When it comes down to it, most, if not all of these crashes, come down to some sort of human error.”
Both the Ontario Safety League, an organization dedicated to reducing preventable injuries and deaths on Ontario roads, and the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) believe under-qualified and under-trained drivers cause some of the accidents. OTA President Stephen Laskowski told the CBC that a small number of unqualified drivers has tarnished the industry’s reputation and that the OTA is working with the OPP and Ministry of Transportation on a solution.
“We’ve been working together in multiple areas of how all of our organizations can work better together to focus enforcement,” he said.
As any Ontario car accident lawyer can tell you, speeding, driver fatigue, lack of compliance to safety standards, and distracted driving are factors in many highway collisions, including those involving transport trucks. According to the CBC, the OPP’s “Operation Safe Trucking” program has resulted in more than 1,600 speeding charges, 350 distracted driving charges, and 650 trucks being pulled off the road for safety issues. Laskowski is also an advocate of electronic logs, which would discourage truckers from spending more than the legal maximum of 13 hours on the road per day.
While law enforcement and the trucking industry take steps to curb the rise of transport truck accidents, drivers should take their own precautions: pay careful attention to trucks’ signals and mirrors and avoid getting caught in their blind spots. Be as visible as possible on the road – as Sgt. Schmidt reminded the CBC, if you can’t see the truck’s driver, chances are they can’t see you.
If you’re involved in a collision with a transport truck, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. Our team can assess your claim, provide pragmatic legal advice, and guide you through the recovery process.
Image credit: Rennett Stowe/Flickr
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