Trucks and Truck Drivers Are Safest — in Ontario

The latest Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR) from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) contains the results for 2013 (the latest year for which complete data is available). Once again, it confirms that trucks are the safest vehicles and truck drivers are the safest drivers on the road.

In 2013, there were 93 large trucks involved in fatal collisions of a total population of 281,785. This represents a 5 percent decrease in the total number or large trucks involved in fatal collision over 2012. Those trucks that require a Class A driver’s licence (tractor-trailers) to operate, there were only 55 – or .02% of the total registered large truck population – involved in fatal collisions.

In total, there were 199,470, registered trucks requiring a Class A licence. In 2013, of the 93 large trucks involved in fatal crashes only four trucks (or 4%) had an apparent defect that may have contributed to the crash.

In comparison to other drivers, large truck drivers involved in fatal collisions are more likely to be “driving properly” than operators of other types of vehicles. In 2013, in terms of the number of fatal collisions, the driver of the large truck was driving properly 75% of the time versus 27% for other drivers.

In addition, truck drivers are far less likely to have been drinking or impaired by alcohol or drugs – 1% compared to 21% for other drivers involved in the same crashes. In 2013, there was only one recorded fatal collision involving a commercial vehicle where alcohol was involved.

In terms of the longer-term perspective, compiled data from the ORSAR reports going back to 1994 shows that despite an increase of 77% in the number of large trucks registered in Ontario, the number of large truck fatalities decreased from 165 in 1994 to 96 in 2013 – a reduction of 42%.

The continuous improvement of truck safety figures is partly related to initiatives and policies championed by OTA, such as the introduction of legislation to mandate the activation of speed limiters on all heavy trucks. OTA expects the positive trend to continue further in the coming years as Canada’s moves toward electronic logging devices as well as mandatory entry level training for truck drivers.