OPP doing tractor-trailer ride along to catch distracted drivers

Officers with the Ontario Provincial Police are riding shotgun in two tractor-trailers, on the lookout for distracted transport truck and passenger vehicle drivers this week.

OPP has responded to over 6,200 transport truck related collisions in 2017, resulting in 87 fatalities

During the initiative, OPP officers will conduct patrols in two transport trucks to give them a better view point to spot drivers who are distracted or engaged in other dangerous behaviours behind the wheel. (Nicole Martin/CBC)

Officers with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are going to be using a new technique to help them catch distracted drivers through a new enforcement blitz initiative called Operation Safe Trucking.

The initiative is part of the OPP's Commercial Motor Vehicle Mitigation Strategy and will target transport truck and passenger vehicle drivers across the province.

Officers will be riding in two OPP transport trucks during the five-day blitz to give them a better vantage point to spot distracted, impaired and aggressive drivers.

Officers will also be on the lookout for speeders and for vehicles following too closely.

"We are not going to be pulling them over in the truck," OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CBC News.

"We have other cars that are in the area and as soon as we see a violator, we will call them up and they will make themselves available, in position within seconds to conduct a traffic stop."

6,200 collisions in 2017

So far this year, the OPP has responded to over 6,200 collisions that involve transport trucks, resulting in 87 fatalities.

"Driver inattention is just one of the number of primary causes and factors of transport truck collisions on OPP controlled roads," said Brad Blair, OPP deputy commissioner.

"Regardless of what the causes or factors are, our OPP data tells us that the driver of the transport truck is at fault in 65 per cent of the 6,200 collisions," said Blair.

Schmidt said the OPP transport trucks will be in the GTA and surrounding area this week.

"Every detachment will be doing something in their own respective area," he said. "We'll evaluate how the program was working and how efficient it was and obviously we'll hopefully continue this process across the province as we move forward," he said.

In addition to transport trucks, OPP officers will continue to do standard truck and vehicle inspections as well as use air patrol to spot offending drivers. 

The OPP has responded to over 6,200 transport truck related collisions in 2017. (Nicole Martin/CBC)