Taking the pulse of the nation on truck drivers and trucks on our roads

Most Canadians support tougher safety regulations for commercial operators and vehicles

OTTAWA, May 23, 2002 – 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 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 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;

  • 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.

TIRF hopes the findings from this and future Road Safety
Monitors will be used to guide program development and policy decisions. The Foundation
remains committed to making the roads a safer place across Canada.

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.

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation

Established in 1964, TIRF’s mission is to reduce
traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF designs, promotes and implements effective
programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends
on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. TIRF is headquartered in Ottawa.