A year of staggeringly high collision numbers involving transport trucks on OPP-patrolled highways—87 people were killed in 72 such collisions—has prompted the provincial police force to actively combat the issue.
Yesterday, the OPP kicked off a weeklong blitz that will attempt to curb distracted driving on the part of transport truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators. Dubbed "Operation Safe Trucking," the campaign will run until Friday and see officers themselves actually driving transport trucks themselves in order to catch offenders from a more accessible vantage point.
"We're taking the initiative and putting a different twist on it this year, in an attempt to raise awareness more effectively," said Richard Cunningham, an acting sergeant with the OPP in northwestern Ontario. "When they locate a distracted driver, they have a cruiser that's in the area, dispatched to that vehicle.
"Hopefully, knowing that this is going on will stop them from using their cell phones or becoming distracted in any other way."
The launch of Operation Safe Trucking just so happened to coincide with the first major snowfall in most urban areas of the province. Early news proved that the OPP's message is one that desperately needs to be reinforced.
Jack-knifed trucks and tractor trailers were causing all sorts of headaches on the 401 Highway Monday night and early Tuesday morning. The first snowfall is always a difficult one for drivers to adjust to, but ultimately, safety is still on their shoulders.
"[Many drivers] get a false sense of security with snow tires," said Constable Clint Stibbe. "You have to be, as a driver, more responsible, more aware, and more cautious."