That truck you’re driving next to may just be a cop! The O.P.P. ( Ontario Provincial Police) launched a new program on December 11th, 2017 where they will now be patrolling in tractor units to catch distracted drivers. The goal of the one week blitz is to deter distracted driving by blending into normal traffic and use radio communications to pull over the offenders with other officers.
The trucking industry has been under fire over the last few months due to deadly crashes involving transport trucks with the cause of many thought to be distracted driving. It started back in October with three deadly crashes in the Kitchener area, then a fiery crash south of Barrie, and finally another fatality this week on the 401. Comments from Police have caused uproar in the industry as they have made it sound like truckers are killers.
Distracted driving has become a real problem with the advancement of technology and the way we use mobile devices in our day to day lives. This is a major problem for everyone not just transport drivers and we all need to police ourselves when operating vehicles on the roadways. I know in my daily travels I see motorists in cars and trucks using their phones while driving. In fact it doesn’t even need to be a phone. I have a new car and there is so much technology included that it can be distracting just trying to change the radio station. Hands-free is one thing but you can still be distracted even if not holding a device and the level of distraction is different for everyone. I make it a goal of mine to not answer the phone in the city limits because I know even the conversation can distract my attention away from the task at hand.
The O.P.P. believe that the truck drivers are to blame although many of us see the situation differently. They are hoping that driving in non-marked tractor units along side of the offenders will help to catch them in the act. The officers will be patrolling in two units within the Toronto area and hoping the higher vantage point will allow them a better view of the problem. Once an offender has been identified the officers will radio a patrol car that will pull the offender over. The O.P.P. suggest that not knowing which truck are holding police officers will help deter the problem allowing them to look like there are more officers than there really are. You can read about the actual program here. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-safety-blitz-1.4444214
We all need to do our part to curve distracted driving whether you think the trucking industry is at fault or not. If you look at the statistics in context with the amount of trucks traveling our roadways it shows our safety record is still good, but of course improvements are always available. So you have now been warned that the truck driving next to you may now be a police officer hopefully not driving distracted.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com