Ottawa

Trucker says technology could make Highway 401 safer

New technologies could make roads safer for truck drivers in Canada, according to the president of the Ontario Trucking Association.

After several crashes, industry expert says the road is not the problem

This truck caught fire after a collision on Highway 401 near Napanee, Ont., in late May. The president of the Ontario Trucking Association says there's no safety problem with the highway itself after another spike in serious collisions involving tractor trailers. (Ontario Provincial Police)

New technologies could make roads safer for truck drivers in Canada, including along Highway 401 in eastern Ontario, according to the president of the Ontario Trucking Association.

Two tractor trailers collided on the highway near Belleville on Wednesday and caught fire, killing one of the drivers.

A week ago there was a collision between a tractor trailer and an SUV that killed two people in the SUV.

There were also two other recent collisions on Highway 401 involving tractor-trailers that did not result in any fatalities.

On CBC's All in a Day Thursday, Stephen Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association, said there is nothing about the 401 in eastern Ontario that is particularly dangerous.

He stressed he doesn't know what happened in these most recent collisions, but said in 70 per cent of collisions involving transport trucks the commercial driver is not the one at fault.

He said when drivers are at fault, it tends to be either fatigue or distracted driving.

Mandatory electronic tracking

He said electronic log books, which track how long a driver has been on the road, can be a big change to help address the fatigue issue.

"The best way for us to deal with it is to bring in electronic log books," he said.

"We would like to see electronic logging devices mandated in Canada as soon as possible."

The federal government has said they will be mandatory by 2020.

Laskowski said most companies follow the rules and many already have electronic log books in place. 

"I don't think any driver working for a good company, which is the vast majority of companies that have a culture of safety, ever push their drivers," he said.

He said there is a lot of technology, including autonomous vehicles, that has the potential to make the industry even safer.

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