The Ontario Provincial Police in co-operation with The Ministry of Transportation staged a mass enforcement campaign, “Operation Corridor” on June 16, citing more than 27,000 collisions involving commercial trucks in the last five years.
According to Sgt. Dave Rektor, a spokesman with the provincial police’s Western Region, a total of 321 people died as a result of those collisions involving commercial trucks, including 40 truck drivers.
The event was billed as an enforcement and education initiative aimed at encouraging all commercial vehicle drivers to help keep Ontario roads safe.
“We (were) singling truck drivers out for this one day, but they are professional drivers, so there is an expectation that they should be held accountable,” Rektor said. “This is a one-day event focusing on transport drivers, but what it does is it creates awareness for other car drivers too.”
Rektor said the enforcement effort put special emphasis on logbook compliance, as well as on equipment issues. He said the province has dealt with a rash of wheel-off incidents in the last six months, including one fatal incident in December 2015.
As part of the 24-hour enforcement initiative, the provincial police and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation released the following statistics on driver interaction and enforcements.
Ontario Provincial Police inspectors reported the following interactions with commercial drivers:
52 distracted driving offences
37 seat belt charges
15 speeding charges
5 left lane violations
7 failing to drive in marked lane
1 validation tag
1 logbook violation
1 suspended driver
2 drug seizures
19 complete vehicle inspections, resulting in 10 charges
Ontario Ministry of Transportation officials had the following interactions:
48 complete vehicle inspections
11 vehicles ordered out-of-service
9 vehicle defect charges
1 logbook violation
1 expired annual inspection
An unspecified number of expired plates, no muffler, and no pre-trip inspection violations.
A few notable stops cited in the release include one truck driver who pulled up to an unmarked enforcement vehicle and made “an objectionable hand gesture” at officers while also talking on a cellphone. Another driver received two cellphone violations within 55 minutes of each other.
“We really want to get the message out that we’re not pointing fingers here,” Rektor said. “We want everybody to take a closer look at their own driving, see what they can do better.
“We’re all part of the problem, but we can all be part of the solution,” he said. “(Truckers) deal with a lot of idiot drivers on the road. They have a tough job some days. They drive long hours, but if it wasn’t for the trucking community, a lot of us wouldn’t have the things on our table that we have.”