Authorities praise motorists after crash on Canada’s 401

| 7/24/2007

A tanker truck crash on Highway 401 near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, July 23, has emergency personnel praising motorists for their help – and has a police officer calling for new technology on heavy trucks.

According to media reports, a 41-year-old truck driver whose name has not been released was seriously burned over much of his body when the tanker overturned and ruptured, and its 40 tons of hot liquid asphalt flooded into the cab and spilled on the highway.

Several motorists suffered burns when they walked through the asphalt and held the driver’s head up so he could breathe.

The driver was hospitalized in serious but stable condition with first- and second-degree burns.

Sgt. Cam Woolley of the Ontario Provincial Police said the wreck points out the need for electronic stability control systems on heavy trucks.

ESC systems automatically compensate for sliding or fishtailing by applying the brakes selectively while decelerating to help reduce the risk of rollovers.

The Toronto Sun newspaper reported that Woolley said the stretch of Highway 401 where the tanker flipped on Monday is considered the No. 1 problem spot on the 400-series highways in Toronto.

The same location was the scene of another tanker rollover last week on Wednesday, July 18, when a Niagara-bound truck hauling liquid sugar from Montreal rolled and burst into flames.

Monday’s crash happened before 6 a.m. when the tanker, which was heading to Mississauga from Kingston, merged from the express lanes into the collector lanes, according to Woolley.