With truck collisions on the rise, are Ontario roads safe for passenger vehicles?
As Canadians continue to navigate ongoing supply chain disruptions, we depend on truck drivers to deliver essential, everyday goods to our communities. Yet, while the need for more truck drivers on our roads is clear, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has reported that transport truck collisions saw a 40 per cent increase in 2022.
Given the rigorous demands of their job, as well as the weight of their vehicles, sharing the road with truck drivers poses a few additional risks for drivers of passenger vehicles — as well as new challenges to tackle within the motor vehicle accident claims process.
Sharing the road safely with truck drivers
All licensed drivers in Ontario are required to follow the Highway Traffic Act, which regulates the classification of traffic offences and other transport-related issues. However, it is helpful to know how large motor vehicles operate, and understand why drivers take the actions they do.
To help create safer roads for everyone, consider these tips when sharing the road with trucks:
Avoid blind spots. Large trucks have limited visibility. If you cannot see the driver in their side mirror, it means that they cannot see you either.
Maintain a safe distance. Heavy vehicles can roll back as much as 4.5 metres once the driver’s foot is taken off the brake. The weight of a truck also increases the risk of more severe vehicle damage, injuries and fatalities. Be sure to leave extra space when merging in front of large vehicles to ensure they have the stopping space they need.
Watch out for wide turns. Trucks need extra space and time to make wide turns carefully and safely. Pay extra attention when a truck makes a right turn especially, as they may not always be able to easily turn from a right lane and may initially need to move to their left in order to create enough turning space.
Anticipate wind turbulence. Large vehicles create more air turbulence at highway speeds that can be felt by other drivers. When approaching a truck, be sure to keep a steady hold on your steering wheel.
Filing a motor vehicle accident claim in a truck collision
Truck collisions only represent 8.7 per cent of total collisions in Ontario, yet they account for 21 per cent of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. Filing an accident claim in a truck collision is similar to filing for other Ontario car accident claims, but there are additional factors that should be taken into consideration.
Besides the driver, there are a number of other potentially at-fault parties involved in a truck accident, such as:
The trucking company (if the vehicle fails to meet provincial commercial safety vehicle requirements)
The truck manufacturer (if there were mechanical issues/defects)
The company responsible for the truck’s maintenance
The manufacturer of the product being transported in the truck (if packaged dangerously)
The insurance provider (if accident benefits were denied)
Another important consideration is the different forms of evidence that may be available in a truck collision, such as an event data recorder (EDR). Similar to the “black box” on an airplane, an EDR is a device installed in trucks, as well as some passenger vehicles, to record information related to traffic collisions, such as the speed at the time of the accident or whether airbags were deployed. However, a search warrant is required to retrieve the device, which may be difficult to obtain.
Keep in mind that Ontario’s Limitations Act sets a standard deadline of two years to file a personal injury claim, which includes collisions with trucks. However, the longer a claimant waits, the more likely it is that they will forget details of the accident or lose potential evidence. This is one of the main reasons why it is important to engage an experienced truck accident lawyer from the start to help you build your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
For help with claiming motor vehicle accident benefits, contact our personal injury lawyers at Singer Katz for a free consultation.