Northern Ontario saw such egregious accidents involving commercial trucks over the March 17th weekend, NDP member Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay-Superior North) sponsored a press conference to call upon Ontario to address persistent safety issues including road conditions and driver training.
“This past weekend, there were an unbelievable number of accidents, really tragic accidents in our region,” Vaugeois noted in her opening statement. “The concern is that there are people on the road driving that are not being adequately trained.” Vaugeois was referring to one accident in which a transport truck collided with a snowplow. In another incident, a transport truck left the highway and hit two houses.
“The Auditor General in 2019 wrote about the same thing. So I’m going to quote from the Auditor General: ‘We analyzed carriers which provide their own training. The AG found that carriers between 2014/15 and 2018/19 had a pass rate of 95 per cent compared with just 69 per cent at drive test centers. We know that 25 per cent of the 106 carriers testing their own drivers under the program ranked among the worst 1 per cent of all carriers for all at- fault collision performance.’
“It’s a lot of words,” Vaugeois said. “But what it means is that there are driving schools that are not adequately preparing drivers for the for the risks and the responsibilities of driving on our highways.”
According to the AG, “The Ministry of Transportation, as of August 9, 2021, has fully implemented only 18% of the actions we recommended in our 2019 Annual Report. The Ministry has also made progress in implementing an additional 25% of the recommendations in our report.
“According to the Ministry, the direct social cost of large truck collisions in Ontario from 2011 to 2015 (the most recent data available) was $2 billion. This includes costs related to property damage, health care, police, courts, fire and ambulance services, tow trucks and traffic delays. From 2016/17 to 2020/21, the Ministry spent over $189 million (over $200 million from 2014/15 to 2018/19) on commercial vehicle enforcement.”
45 new Transportation Enforcement Officers (TEOs) were deployed by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation in 2022, with an additional 31 onboarded last fall.