A screeching halt: Regina police, RCMP conduct skid testing with semi-trailer trucks

Throughout the week, the Regina Police Service, RCMP members and others have been participating in some skid testing with semi-trailer trucks at the Global Transportation Hub.

Police warn motorists these trucks take longer to stop than an average vehicle

Throughout the week, RCMP officers and members of the Regina police traffic unit have been participating in skid testing with semi-trailer trucks. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Just how long does it take a 63-tonne semi-trailer truck travelling at highway speed to stop?

This week, RCMP collision analysts and members of the Regina police traffic unit are conducting skid testing with semi-trailer trucks.

The point of the testing program, taking place at the Global Transportation Hub located just outside the city, is to allow officers to develop their skills at determining the speed of commercial vehicles. 

Police say most collisions involving semi-trailer trucks happen when smaller privately-owned vehicles run into them. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

RCMP Cpl. Jeff Burnett said they have been testing how long it takes for a semi truck to come to a full stop in various configurations, while travelling at different speeds and carrying various weights. 

"If we go to a collision that involves a commercial vehicle and we have skid marks on the road or we can determine a skid distance, this is going to help us determine how fast that vehicle was going at the time of the collision, " he told reporters on Thursday.

One of the semi-trailer trucks being tested Thursday weighed 63,500 kilograms, or the equivalent of 32 police cars, said Burnett.

Cpl. Jeff Burnett says most drivers don't understand how long it takes for a semi-truck to come to a full stop on a highway. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

He explained that as technologies change and the trucks are upgraded with new braking systems, it's important that officers can correctly calculate speed when collisions do happen. 

Most of the accidents involving semi-trailer trucks happen when a much smaller vehicle runs into them. 

"We've actually been quite surprised at how quickly they do stop, but they still need a lot of room, so don't get in their way," Burnett said.

"I think a lot of people don't realize that they need a lot more space, there's a lot more weight, there's a lot more tires, and they don't react as quickly as a small vehicles."