The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is pushing for mandatory drug testing of commercial drivers once marijuana is legalized in Canada next July 1.
The OTA is supporting a zero-tolerance roadside testing program for the presence of drugs and alcohol in all Ontario drivers, regardless of medical clearance to use marijuana for health reasons.
With 200,000 professional drivers operating on Ontario roads, the OTA said in its recently released action plan that the key to improving safety is mitigating the human factor that leads to accidents.
The group wants to work with law enforcement to enforce the current laws and target drivers and carrier that operate outside the rules.
The action plan outlines proactive strategies with beefed-up enforcement, enhanced vehicle standards, and the introduction of new technology, training and educators for buyers and operators of trucking equipment.
Since 1995, the OTA said truck registrations in Ontario have increased by 75 percent while commercial motor vehicle collisions have decreased by almost 70 percent over the same time. The group intends to keep it that way.
The OTA is encouraging the adoption of driver assistance systems (ADAS) to curb aggressive and distracted drivers.
The OTA has scheduled a meeting later this month to establish an inaugural working group with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Transportation to review issues and objectives contained in its action plan.
“The trucking industry is proud of its excellent safety record, but as an industry that shares its workplace with the public we must pursue all avenues for further improvement of safety performance,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski in a statement.
“Our action plan does just that. “But implementing it successfully will involve input and buy-in from road safety stakeholders and supply chain partners, including government, the enforcement community, educators, human behavioral scientists, equipment manufacturers and the buyers of transportation services.
“We anticipate this as a cooperative effort involving truly constructive dialogue.”