Caution Trucks Turning
Caution trucks turning are common signs to warn others they need time and space to maneuver. Seems like common sense, since trucks are big, slow and dangerous. However, not everyone follows the signs or gives them room. That can lead to terrible consequences.
We get there is frustration on the roads. Never ending construction and building sites means “trucks turning” and other caution signs are everywhere. But despite the safety messages, these signs and other measures aimed at trucks are not working very well to keep pedestrians, cyclists and other road users safe. Missing in action is the shared responsibility to prevent collisions, especially with trucks.
The terrible cost of missing the signs
The Humbolt Bronco’s bus tragedy is fading from headlines, but is still very much felt by victims and their families, survivors and their communities. We cannot forget the profound impact of that crash. Legal consequences changed the future for the truck driver who failed to notice multiple road signs. He was convicted of multiple counts of dangerous driving earlier this year.
Seconds matter. Attention to the road matters. Most find the pain unbearable. Families have been torn apart. — Judge Inez Cardinal
Afterwards, we learned distracted driving was not the only factor. The Alberta-based driver had very limited training to operate the loaded transport truck. Yet this was within the rules for road safety. Training for the 300,000 truck drivers in Canada was only mandatory in Ontario at the time.
The crash motivated co-operation among the trucking industry, along with Federal and Provincial safety regulators. MELT, which stands for Mandatory Entry Level Training, was to begin in 2020, as noted in our February blog post .
Toronto’s Vision Zero update targets big trucks
While the Bronco’s bus and truck collision happened on a rural highway, truck crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists occur more often in cities. Contributing factors are narrow streets, blind spots, chaotic construction sites and traffic congestion.
According to Toronto city data, pedestrian fatalities involving large trucks are twice as likely as with smaller vehicles. This summer there was a tragic incident involving a pedestrian and turning cement truck in broad daylight. That prompted, the City of Toronto to add new rules about heavy trucks around construction sites. The updated “Vision Zero 2.0“ pedestrian safety plan, was approved by city council, which added some new elements of prevention.
Training truck drivers is one element of the enhanced road safety plan. Preventing trucks from visiting multiple nearby construction sites on the same day is another. And restricting the size of trucks on certain streets is a third. But despite these concrete steps, incidents continue to happen more than before. We know road risks around trucks are real. As we are about to head into to the time of year when poor visibility, weather and time changes add even more factors, caution signs should be flashing.
Regulations in Reverse
We learned that those new MELT regulations for truck driver training were recently relaxed in Alberta. To manage a large backlog of testing, examinations were waived. Seems like things have been put into reverse at the expense of road safety.
We’re all for keeping things moving and avoiding unnecessary regulation. But this move seems to take road safety and truck driver training in the wrong direction.
Remembering Ryan and the reasons for road safety
One of the Humbolt Bronco’s crash survivors is Ryan Straschnitzki. He is paralyzed from the chest down and endured treatments and therapy for months. His positive attitude and determination to play hockey again is remarkable and inspiring.
In late September, adidas Canada released a video of him changing focus and creating his future. We should all be cheering him on as he works towards his next goal: making the national sledge hockey team.
Incidents involving trucks, pedestrian or cyclists cannot be prevented by government actions alone. It will take the participation and attitude shift of everyone.
For Ryan’s sake, do your part to Be Alert.
Join Our Own Be Alert Program
To raise awareness, improve visibility and to reduce the risk for vulnerable road users, Trimtag Trading Inc. created our own Be Alert! road safety products. Our high-visibility and reflective woven decals and stickers are easy to apply to bike helmets, backpacks, and clothing and vehicle windows, even eco-friendly drive thru containers. Our program aims to encourage awareness and active attention to road safety, especially for the most vulnerable road users: children, pedestrians and cyclists. See our Be Alert products here, or contact us about a custom program for your own safety program.