Equipment

Hours-Of-Service Changes, Black Boxes Proposed In Ontario

November 12, 1998

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Nov. 13 – A recent rash of truck crashes in Ontario has generated a lot of discussion about what should be done. Truck driver training officials have said the problem is poor training. Canadians for Reliable and Safe Highways says it’s unsafe trucks. The Ontario Trucking Assn. wants hours-of-service regulations to be changed, and the provincial police say “black boxes” should be required on trucks.

The Ontario Provincial Police say inexperience, mechanical problems and fatigue have all contributed significantly to the more than 40 rollovers and other truck accidents on highways in the Ontario area in the past two months, reports The Toronto Star. A fatal accident last week involving four trucks is under investigation, but fatigue is a possible factor.
Canadian truckers can stay at the wheel for 13 hours at a stretch and must have eight hours off before driving another 13 hours. Current regulations also allow truckers to drive for 60 hours every seven days, 70 hours every eight days and 120 hours every 14 days.
But a new proposal would allow drivers to stay at the wheel for 14 hours after 10 hours of rest, putting the regulations in synch with the body’s biological clock. The proposal, which has the backing of the Ontario Trucking Assn., could be implemented by the spring in Ontario. However, CRASH predicts the proposal will only make truck driver fatigue worse.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Star reports, the OPP would like to make airplane-style “black boxes” mandatory in trucks. Police say deliberate logbook violations have been found in many of the serious trucking accidents. The on-board recorders would keep drivers from fudging on their logbooks, police say. Police could download information from black boxes such as speed, engine and braking performance and the time the trip took to complete.
In the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board and various safety groups would also like to see onboard recorders made mandatory. Many trucking companies use them for management purposes but do not want the government to have access to the information.

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