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Trucking group calls for improvements to highway safety

Sault Ste. Marie –

A group of truckers is advocating for drastic improvements in safety along Canadian highways. The group, known as Truckers for Safer Highways, was founded by Travis McDougall, a southern Ontario trucker who mostly services the north and western Canada.

McDougall said more truckers are making dangerous moves out on the highways and said it comes down to inexperience. “A 2019 auditor general report in Ontario found that for certified carriers conducting commercial licence driving tests, they had passing rates of 95 per cent between 2014 and 2019,” McDougall said. “In comparison, for provincial driving test numbers, the passing rate was 69 per cent.” McDougall said a reduction in staff at the Ministry of Transportation has also led to a significant decrease in commercial vehicle enforcement.

“For trucking carriers, if we all think about it, it doesn’t make sense for these carriers to not pass these drivers, so the sooner they get them on the road, the better it is for the carrier,” he added. “If there’s also less enforcement officers and inspection stations open, that gives drivers more opportunities to skip some rules or try and cut corners.” The group has been in contact with Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha to help try and bring about change provincially.

Among topics they’ve discussed have been the creation of a more standardized training system.

McDougall said he’s also reached out to the Ford government and is waiting to hear back.