Toronto-to-New York bus crash: Safety regulations for commercial vehicles recently changed

The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), recently changed its safety inspection regulations to prevent crashes like the one that took place Thursday morning near Syracuse, NY.

In a 2010 report by CCMTA called “Road Safety Vision,” a truck weighing over 4500 lbs and a bus carrying more than 10 people must be registered as a commercial vehicle. Commercial vehicles are much more likely to have serious accidents and are therefore required to have stricter regulations and maintenance checks imposed.

“Commercial vehicles travel almost 3 kilometers more than passenger vehicles,” the report says. “When commercial vehicles are involved in collisions, the outcomes are often more serious due in part to the size disparity of the vehicles.”

The Road Safety Vision report shows a number of studies that were done on commercial vehicle safety. One noted that accidents involving collisions with commercial vehicles generated a 39 per cent chance that the participants would be seriously injured. This figure is down from 66.6 per cent in 2001.

Courtesy Road Safety Vision Report, 2010
Courtesy Road Safety Vision Report, 2010 Note: VKM refers to Vehicle Keeper Marking (graphy graph)

In October, CCMTA released a report called the Commercial Vehicle Maintenance Standard. The report outlined the specifications of how often and how frequently commercial vehicles must be maintained.

There are three levels of inspections commercial vehicles must undertake. The first, called the “A Level” is a monthly check that examines breaks, hitches, and other general maintenance. The second, “B Level” is similar to the A, but must be undertaken every 10,000-30,000 km. Lastly, the “C level” is a thorough inspection done every 6 months, or every 50,000 km.

It is not known at this time if a lack of scheduled inspections had any bearing on Thursday’s crash.

“No premeditated time intervals have been specified in the standard for the cycle of inspection and maintenance” said the National Safety Code Standard published October 2014. “…It was too hard to account for different equipment’s, terrain, etc.”