Written By: John McLeish and William Harding, Student-at-Law
The Federal government is implementing new safety regulations in an effort to address the high number of collisions involving commercial trucks. These new regulations come as a response to numerous studies that show trucks to be involved in a high number of motor vehicle collisions, many of which result in serious injuries and death. Some reports indicate that one in every five fatal collisions involves a transport truck.
The new regulations will make mandatory two forms of technology for commercial trucks. These are electronic stability control (ESC) and mandatory electronic logging of hours. ESC will hopefully reduce collisions that result from a rollovers and loss of control of the truck. It is estimated that about 660 rollover collisions occur in Canada each year, many of which may have been prevented with ESC technology.
The mandatory logging of driver hours is aimed at addressing the issue of driver fatigue and driver distraction. The mandatory electronic logging of hours will be tamper proof, and will make it easier to ensure that drivers are not breaching the government mandated number of hours. The current system uses paper logs of drivers’ hours, which can easily be forged to allow a driver to work longer than is safe. The new electronic system will be connected directly to the truck’s engine which should make it easier to enforce the rules on driver hours.
New measures to improve truck safety are long overdue. There have been a number of horrific accidents caused by trucks in the past few years, often resulting in multiple fatalities. Many of these collisions are caused by the drivers of these trucks failing to slow their vehicle in response to slowing or stopped traffic ahead. This was the case in a recent collision on Highway 400 near Bradford, which saw a tanker smash into stopped traffic. The chain reaction that followed involved 14 vehicles and claimed 3 lives.
McLeish Orlando frequently represents individuals who have been seriously injured by the negligent driving of a commercial truck operator, or family members, who have lost loved one. We witness first hand the devastating effects that these collisions can have on people and their families. In many of our cases involving commercial trucks, inattention of the driver, or driver fatigue, is what causes the collision.
Hopefully the implementation of these new regulations will reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that result from truck driver negligence. While this is a good first step, more work needs to be done to address truck driver negligence, and make roads safer for all Canadians.