Imagine: Truckdrivers and big rigs safest road combo

| 2/28/2003

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation's Annual Road Safety Report for 2001, released Feb. 26 this year, showed tractor-trailers and their drivers are the safest vehicles and drivers on the road.

Notably, the data shows that when persons were killed in collisions involving trucks, the truckdriver was not at fault in the vast majority of cases. For 2001, the truckdriver was deemed to have been driving properly in 72 percent of fatal collisions.

Several U.S. studies, including a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, suggest car drivers are at fault 70 percent to 80 percent of the time when there are car-truck collisions. Mike Irwin, the Lansing, MI-based Michigan Center for Truck Safety, says 70 percent of accidents involving trucks are caused by cars, because motorists don’t realize that trucks have four major blind spots – in the front, rear and on both sides.

In 2001, tractor-trailer units, including double-trailer combinations and bobtail tractors, represented 1.8 percent of all vehicles involved in all collisions on Ontario roadways. Moreover, the big rigs accounted for 6.5 percent of all the vehicles involved in all fatal collisions that year.

According to the Canadian study, the actual number of persons killed in all truck collisions (including straight trucks as well as tractor-trailer units) decreased by more than 4.5 percent in 2001 to 143 and were down more than 16 percent from their peak of the previous five years, which occurred in 1999.

The study also found truckdrivers were also the least likely to be drinking and driving. The report found that in 2001, drinking and driving was a factor in 2.3 percent of truckdrivers involved in fatal collisions, compared with more than 16 percent for the entire driving population (including truckdrivers).

The report also found that vehicle defects were a factor in 6 percent of trucks involved in fatal collisions in 2001. The report found there were 1.25 million trucks registered in Ontario in 2001 – 161,737 for which a Class A driver's license is required. It also found there were more than 95,500 holders of a Class A driver's license in Ontario that year.