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'It's not good,' transport truck company welcomes OPP blitz after alarming stats released

A transport truck is involved in every fifth collision that kills someone on an Ontario road, according to statistics released by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Numbers show 1 in 5 fatal crashes on province's highways involve transport trucks

OPP Sargent David Rektor said that Operation Corridor will target transport trucks driving on highways in the province. (twitter.com/@OPP_WR)

A transport truck was involved in a fifth of all fatal collisions on Ontario provincial roads between 2012 and 2016, according to statistics released by the Ontario Provincial Police.

As a result, provincial police are once again targeting transport trucks on Ontario roadways to make sure they're following all regulations. 

"The number of problems relate to the vehicles being improperly cared for," said OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor.

Defective transport trucks were involved in 366 collisions over the last three years. Six people died in those collisions and 37 people were in injured, according to numbers from the OPP.

"We realize there are a lot of professional drivers out there," said Rektor. "But our emphasis is on those that aren't abiding by the laws."

The OPP are finding a host of problems with many transport trucks, including damaged axles, blown tires, detached wheels and faulty brakes. Police have even seen unsecured loads come off the rigs, striking other people and resulting in tragic consequences, Rektor explained. 

"We're going to be targeting commercial motor vehicles in order to help keep our highways safe," he said.

'I think it's great'

The owner of a trucking company in southwestern Ontario said he welcomes the OPP's enforcement blitz. 

"I support that because it's got to be cleaned up," said Doug Cuddy, owner of KRT Express Inc, adding that he thinks some truck drivers aren't properly trained or rested.

Cuddy said people driving passenger vehicles have to shoulder some of the blame.

"It's probably too much texting on the phone," said Cuddy. "Our drivers see a lot that." 

Cuddy said he would like to see people drop the bad habits and drive defensively. 

"Keep your eye on the road and the traffic conditions of course," said Cuddy. "Watch your surroundings and drive the speed limit."

Deadly and dangerous

Here's how the numbers from the OPP's Operation Corridor between 2012 and 2016 break down:

  • 1,342 fatal motor vehicle collisions
  • 266 involved transport trucks
  • 330 people killed
  • 44 people killed were drivers of transport trucks
  • 286 people killed were in passenger vehicles

Another reason police are targeting transport trucks is because of the materials they're transporting, according to Rektor, who said there are a lot of dangerous chemicals traveling within a metre of other vehicles.

"Certainly, we're worried," he said. "If people only knew just how dangerous some of the chemicals are going up and down the highways."

The OPP shutdown the Queen Elizabeth Way highway in St. Catharines on Tuesday after a transport truck carrying a flammable, hazardous chemical rolled over.

Police evacuated a two-kilometre radius as a precaution. Rektor said these types of accidents are not common, but the potential for injury and death is much higher.

"Some of the chemicals that go across our highways here have the capability of causing a lot of damage if in fact they should explode or spill and get in the environment," he said.

Rektor stressed that "most of the truck drivers are professional trucks drivers that take their jobs seriously" and added that they are not targeting them.