Ontario Trucking Association says low barriers to enter industry puts safety at risk

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The president of the Ontario Trucking Association supports this week's joint MTO-OPP safety blitz on trucks, but thinks stricter regulations are required to truly improve road safety.

The annual 'Operation Corridor' safety blitz began with a statement from OPP that there have been 25 fatal collisions involving transport trucks this year — a 25 per cent increase from last year.

In total, 3,047 truck-related collisions have been reported in 2018.

"Poor driving behaviours and moving violations alone account for a large number of transport truck-related crashes every year," said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair.

"When other dangerous habits are thrown into the mix such as failure to adhere to vehicle maintenance, inspection and hours of service regulations as well as unsecured loads, it then becomes a question of when, not if more lives will be lost in serious transport truck collisions."

In an interview with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre, Ontario Trucking Association President Stephen Laskowski said while enforcement blitzes "have their place," there are larger concerns which need to be addressed.

"Is it too easy to enter our industry? I think increasingly participants in our industry [and] the enforcement community are saying probably the answer is 'yes,'" he said. "So if we can make sure that companies ... understand the need for compliance, the cost of compliance, how to manage compliance, that will assist in terms of producing better safety results on the road."

Hear more from Ontario Trucking Association President Stephen Laskowski on the CBC's Afternoon Drive:

Laskowski also said targeted enforcement of non-compliant companies rather than random enforcement is needed and that the paper log books that document hours of service should be replaced with electronic records.