What are the most practical safety management systems for the road transport industry in Canada?
Every year in Canada, numerous accidents are caused by road transport. Even though incidents have been declining for the last 10 years, there are still many serious accidents and road deaths due to heavy goods vehicles. The causes of these accidents can be diverse and working to improve safety on Canada’s roads is time-consuming and laborious.
To limit the number of accidents, the Ministry of Transport has decided to put in place several measures to control the potential risks of road accidents in the territory.
Weather and driver fatigue: risk factors on the road?
Weather doesn’t appear to be a determining factor for safety. Indeed, a recent study has shown that accidents occur mostly during the day, and moreover, on sunny days. Highway carriers tend to be more cautious during climatic events, and certain restrictions are enforced in the Highway Code.
In addition, road risks due to weather are anticipated by MétéoMédia, thus avoiding many dangerous situations.
Road transport driver fatigue
Fatigue is one of the main reasons for road accidents. Transport Canada is responsible for the Hours of Service regulations to control truckers’ rest periods and avoid the risks associated with fatigue. In addition, the North American Fatigue Management Program is available online free of charge for drivers. It offers several trainings with sessions, on various topics such as fatigue management, napping, implementation of safety culture changes, fatigue detection technologies, biomathematical scheduling software, obstructive sleep apnea detection and treatment strategies.
Safety management systems implemented to respond to risks on the road
Human error is another major cause of road transport accidents. In fact, more than 90% of heavy vehicle collisions are due to human error. Transport Canada chaired the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators’ working group on human factors and motor carrier safety to develop strategies, taking into account and analyzing risk, to inform drivers as much as possible.
Also, a public consultation on the road component of the transport safety policy has been launched. This consultation, presented by the Ministère des Transports in collaboration with the Société de l’assurance automobile au Québec (SAAQ), allowed citizens to express their views on the risks and challenges of road safety. Several areas for improvement emerged from this consultation: improved road sharing, promoting safer access to the road network for certain vehicles and users, more efficient management of certain vehicles, equipment or appliances and finally the simplification of the administrative and regulatory formalities in road transport.
An increase in sanctions for dangerous driving helped, on the one hand, to reduce the number of infringements and therefore the number of accidents. On the other hand, the various projects implemented have made it possible to reduce workloads as well as to increase rest times of truck drivers, also enabling a reduction in fatigue at the wheel, which is one of the main accident causes.
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