OPP launches commercial vehicle safety blitz in GTA
Sgt. Kerry Schmidt is riding a big rig to see for himself how drivers are sharing the road
Ontario Provincial Police launched a commercial vehicle safety blitz on Wednesday.
Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the OPP's Highway Safety Division said the idea is to spread awareness of the importance of road safety, draw attention to the high number of transport truck crashes in recent months, and to find trucks with safety issues, such as broken lights, that could cause crashes down the road.
The blitz comes on the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.
Schmidt rode along in an OPP transport truck on GTA highways on Wednesday morning to see for himself how vehicles are sharing the road. OPP officers and Ontario transportation safety officials are doing safety inspections as part of the blitz.
"We just want to get some more awareness out there about the importance of everybody sharing the road. Transport trucks, four wheelers and cars and everyone, they are all trying to make their destinations and deliveries," he said.
"We want to make sure we all will get there in reasonable time without unnecessary crashes that affect so many more people than just those involved."
Wednesday's blitz is being conducted out of the commercial vehicle safety inspection scales on the Highway 401 westbound at Trafalgar Road in Milton. He said it is a "local" safety blitz, organized by the Port Credit OPP, for the Highway 401 area.
Officers are "all over the area" trying to flag trucks for inspections, Schmidt said.
"I don't want to paint a picture saying that all trucks are unsafe," he added.
Schmidt said it is a fraction of truckers who are taking chances, shortcuts, fudging logbooks and "pushing the limits" and that's when problems arise.
The OPP says it responded to 13,668 crashes that involved large commercial transport trucks in 2015 and 2016. It says 155 people were killed in those crashes.
Last month, three people died in a crash on Highway 400, south of Barrie, Ont.
The OPP believes a transport truck hit vehicles that had slowed down because of an earlier collision. The crash involved two fuel tanker trucks and at least three transport trucks.
That crash caused a 14-vehicle pileup, an explosion and a massive fire that closed the highway in both directions for hours.
"Traffic can stop in an instant," he said.
The national day of remembrance is organized by the Canadian Council for Motor Transport Administrators, an organization focused on the administration, regulation and control of motor vehicle transportation and highway safety in Canada.
The group estimates that five people die on Canadian roads every day. It says more than 1,800 people are killed and 10,200 are seriously injured in road crashes every year.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TruckTalk?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TruckTalk</a> - Riding in a big rig with Grant, let’s talk trucks in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GTA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GTA</a> <a href="https://t.co/bqHQ0eSxlH">https://t.co/bqHQ0eSxlH</a>—@OPP_HSD
_. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RememberRoadVictims?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RememberRoadVictims</a> 2day<br>5 people die on Canada’s rds everyday.<br>Every year 1,800+ people are killed & 162,000 injured (over 10,200 seriously) because of<br>Impaired Driving<br>Speeding/aggressive driving<br>Driver distraction/fatigue<br>Failure 2 wear a seat belt<br>Help make our rds safe <a href="https://t.co/2QSYFFUjUN">pic.twitter.com/2QSYFFUjUN</a>—@TrafficServices