Inside Logistics

Ontario truckers highlight sobriety record

Truck drivers least likely to be impaired on the road; involved in zero alcohol-related traffic fatalities


August 1, 2014
by MM&D Online Staff

TORONTO, Ontario—In the wake of yesterday’s accident and closure of the Toronto-bound Burlington Skyway (click for full story), the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is providing the public the latest information and safety data regarding the use of drugs and alcohol among commercial drivers.

It has become an industry standard over the last 20 years for companies to take proactive steps to ensure drivers are fit for duty, and not operating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Operators of large commercial vehicles are much less likely to be impaired by alcohol or drugs than all other motorists, and alcohol is very rarely a factor in North American driver out-of-service rates.

Regardless, OTA says yesterday’s event on the Burlington Skyway was an unfortunate occurrence and the trucking community is thankful the outcome was not worse.

“We want to ensure the motoring public that the actions this individual is accused of in no way reflect the professionalism of the hundreds of thousands men and women who operate their trucks in a safe and courteous manner every day,” says Stephen Laskowski, Senior VP, Ontario Trucking Association. “The fact that truck drivers are involved in zero percent of fatal collisions where alcohol or drugs is a factor speaks volumes to the professionalism of Ontario’s truck drivers and the companies that employ them.”

In a press release the OTA provided the following data:

According to the  Ontario Road Safety Annual Report, 2011 Data Regarding Drug and Alcohol Use Involving Commercial Drivers:

  • Alcohol was involved in zero percent of all fatal collisions involving heavy trucks.
  • According to the most recent Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR 2011), Ontario’s drinking and driving rate was 0.12 per 10,000 licensed drivers (all classes of licences), the lowest fatality rate compared to, for example, every US State.
  • According to ORSAR, large truck drivers are also less likely to be impaired by alcohol or drugs than all other drivers.

Recent US data confirms low alcohol and drug use among commercial drivers:

  • In only 0.23 percent of unannounced inspections in 2013, a commercial driver license holder (CDL) was immediately placed out-of-service and cited for violating federal regulations governing alcohol consumption.
  • In only 0.13 percent of unannounced inspections, a CDL holder was placed immediately out-of-service and cited for violating federal regulations governing controlled substances.
  • In addition to random testing, truck and bus companies are further required to perform drug and alcohol testing on new hires, drivers involved in significant crashes, and whenever a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol while at work.