“Driver inattention at its worst,” says OPP Commissioner
(TORONTO, ON) – Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes announced charges at a news conference today that stem from three recent separate commercial transport truck collisions that claimed the lives of six people, including a 14-year-old boy.
Two of the collisions occurred on Highway 401, one near Port Hope on August 3, 2017, and the other in Chatham Kent on July 30, 2017. The third collision occurred on Highway 48 in the Town of Georgina on July 27, 2017.
In all three incidents, a transport truck travelling on a highway crashed into the back of traffic that was stopped or had slowed down due to road construction or a collision ahead. The collisions resulted in double fatalities that collectively claimed the lives of four men, one woman and a youth who were all occupants in vehicles at the end of the traffic queue. Several other people, including a 10-year-boy, were seriously injured in the crashes.
The details mirror a fourth fatal collision that occurred on May 11, 2017 on Highway 401 near Kingston. While the OPP has already laid and published charges stemming from the incident, Hawkes acknowledged the deaths of the three men and one woman, all occupants in one vehicle, who died when their vehicle too was struck from behind by a transport truck that failed to stop in a construction zone.
“This series of horrific collisions is driver inattention at its worst and the most tragic reminder in recent history of the tremendous toll on the lives of innocent citizens when commercial transport truck drivers are not paying full attention to the road. We are putting drivers on notice that the OPP will pursue every investigative avenue following serious collisions and hold at-fault drivers accountable to the full extent of the law.”
– Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) HAWKES, Ontario Provincial Police
During the conference, the sister of a 51 year-old woman who was killed in a similar transport truck-related crash in 2014 spoke to the crowd about how her loss has impacted her. She went on to read a letter that her deceased sister wrote her before she died. The transport truck driver in the incident was recently sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of Criminal Negligence Causing Death.
Before concluding the conference, Hawkes spoke briefly about the OPP’s Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Collision Mitigation Strategy which aims to reduce the number of CMV-involved collisions, deaths and injuries on OPP-patrolled roads.
He also acknowledged the many safe commercial transport truck drivers and other road safety advocates that help keep Ontario highways safe.
- In 2015 and 2016, the OPP responded to a total of 13,668 collisions that involved a large commercial transport truck in which 155 people lost their lives.
- So far this year (Jan. 1 – Oct. 15, 2017), the OPP has responded to more than 5,000 transport truck-related collisions; 67 lives were lost in 56 of the collisions.
- Commercial transport trucks can weigh in excess of 60,000 kgs. (132,000 lbs), generating tremendous momentum and energy when travelling at highway speeds of 80 to 105 km/h.