Study takes nation’s pulse on truck drivers and trucks

by Canadian Shipper

Although only 41% of Canadians view the number of trucks on the road as a hazard, 70% believe that truck drivers who are tired as a result of long hours of driving are a serious problem. Seventy percent are also concerned about trucks not being maintained in a safe operating
condition.

These are some of the findings in the fourth report from the Road Safety Monitor, released by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF). Through its Road Safety Monitor, TIRF surveys public attitudes toward safety and gathers information on driving habits and road safety practices. More than 1,200 drivers were surveyed by telephone on a number of road safety issues.

Despite their concerns, however, 70% of Canadians believe truck drivers are highly skilled professionals.

“Although most Canadians recognize the importance of commercial traffic on the roads, concerns about the safety of large trucks is an issue, especially after a tragic crash,” said TIRF President and CEO, Herb Simpson.

The report notes that the concern about large trucks is related to their size and weight. Occupants of smaller vehicles recognize that, in a collision with a big truck, they are at a disadvantage and at risk of serious injury.

Other highlights include:
– Survey respondents in Ontario and Quebec are more concerned with truck safety than those in British Columbia and the Prairie provinces;
– Most Canadians favour more stringent safety regulations:
– 83% support a zero alcohol limit for truck drivers;
– 77% support more frequent mechanical inspections for commercial vehicles;
– 69% support testing commercial operators every five years; and
– 67% support random drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers.

The primary sponsors of the Road Safety Monitor are Transport Canada and the Brewers Association of Canada; secondary sponsors are Royal & SunAlliance and Young Drivers of Canada; additional support comes from the Canada Safety Council and Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia provided support for printing and distribution.

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