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, the same number who voiced concern over the condition of trucks on the road, survey results reported today show.
These are some of the findings in the fourth report from the Road Safety Monitor, released today 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. Findings include:
— 41% of Canadians believe that the number of large trucks on the road is a serious problem;
— 70% of Canadians believe that truck drivers who are tired by long hours of driving are a serious problem, along with trucks that don’t meet legal maintenance standards;
— Survey respondents in Ontario and Quebec are more concerned with truck safety than those in British Columbia and the Prairie provinces;
— Most Canadians favor 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.
Despite these concerns, 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. According to Transport Canada, of all people killed in collisions with heavy trucks, 80% are the occupants of the other vehicles. “With the exception of the Prairies, Canadians from different regions of the country are consistent in their level of support for added regulations to govern the safety of commercial operators and vehicles,” said Simpson. “At the same time, it’s interesting to note that the majority of Canadians believe most truck drivers are highly skilled professionals who operate their vehicles safely.”
The Road Safety Monitor measures changes in opinions, gauges improvements, and identifies emerging problems. The Commercial Operators and Vehicles report is the fourth from the 2001 Road Safety Monitor. Previous reports have included findings on aggressive driving, drinking and driving, and distracted driving. The 2002 Road Safety Monitor will be released later this year.
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