Canada

Do trucks and passenger vehicles share the road well? OPP data suggest otherwise

Provincial police in Ontario say there have been 31 fatal crashes involving transport trucks on roads this year — and smaller vehicles they share the road with were responsible for 86 per cent of those collisions.

Police found 86 per cent of fatal crashes were linked to poor behaviour from non-commercial vehicles like cars, SUVs, motorcycles or pickup trucks. These include speeding, following too closely behind trucks and improper passing or overtaking. 

“We know that transport trucks are larger, heavier and more difficult to bring to a stop, and in an emergency, they’re far more difficult to manoeuvre,” said Derek Rogers, Ontario Provincial Police’s (OPP) West Region spokesperson.

We want all drivers to be aware that their safety is in their own hands.– Derek Rogers, OPP West Region spokesperson

 

“We know that people become impatient behind the wheel, so they engage in unsafe passing that will endanger themselves and others on the road.”

Out of the 31 fatalities, seven happened in the West Region and two of those were in Middlesex County, Rogers said.

Collisions between commercial and passenger vehicles make up 20 per cent of all crashes in Ontario, painting a grim picture of how drivers share the road, the OPP said in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter.

Those numbers don’t surprise Mayoorun Bala, who has been driving trucks in the London area for three years. He’s had numerous close calls with cars trying to overtake him, he said. 

See also  'If we don't tell our stories, who will?': African Nova Scotians share joy, struggles, resilience

“Drivers see trucks and they think it’s slow, so they will try to cut in front [of it]. Vehicles will speed up to the end of the lane, and they’ll go on the shoulder and cut in, which is very dangerous,” he said.

“As a truck driver, when I see something like that, I’ll slow down and try to let them go ahead, but sometimes they don’t even give you that chance.”

Road safety a shared responsibility

Keeping the roads safe is a collective responsibility, said London resident Chow Wong, who drives a sedan and has noticed a number of trucks not following rules on the highway.

“Sometimes one truck will try to overtake another truck but neither of them are moving fast, so they’re taking up all the lanes,” said Wong. “A lot of trucks also go in the fast lane when they’re not fast, so of course smaller cars will try to overtake them.”

Wong believes if trucks are going at the same speed limit, they should avoid overtaking one another. Wong drives in a separate lane from trucks whenever he can, he added. 

Trucks stopped at a Flying J stop in London. Provincial police say seven of the 31 crashes involving transport trucks took place in southwestern Ontario. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Bala finds drivers in other vehicles may not realize the impact and damage large trucks can cause, and advises them to have more patience and keep a safe distance when around them. 

However, Salim Ferwadi and his daughter, Sarah, said it’s other cars that make them feel unsafe on highways, instead of trucks.

Ferwadi added that trucks should be mindful of the lane space they take up. 

“Trucks spend most of their time on the roads, so they’re very well aware of how to drive but sometimes if there are two lanes, you can see them driving between both so it becomes harder for smaller cars to pass,” said Ferwadi

Jaswant Singh, who has driven a truck for two decades, said safety concerns have increased in recent years. He has observed newer drivers displaying reckless behaviours like texting or distracted driving. 

The OPP and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation have launched a traffic campaign focusing on road safety around commercial trucks.

It involves an increased police presence on roads this week, when they’ll amplify their safety checks and truck inspections to ensure vehicles are safe. They are also ramping up education efforts on how to share the road safely.

“Bad things happen when you have inequality in the size and weight of vehicles. It’s far more likely that the individual in a passenger vehicle is going to be the one sustaining injury or even death,” said Rogers. “We want all drivers to be aware that their safety is in their own hands.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button