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How jet fuel is transported is reviewed annually: Trucking association president

50,000 litres of jet fuel spilled onto the 401 Sunday causing a lengthy closure
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Jet fuel spill on 401
50,000 litres of jet fuel spilled onto the 401 on Sun. Jan. 13, 2019 when a tractor trailer rolled over. Photo credit: OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt

After Sunday's 401 closure near Cambridge involving a tanker truck rolling over and spilling 50,000 litres of jet fuel, many are wondering if there was a safer alternative for transporting dangerous commodities.

However, Stephen Laskowski the President of the Ontario Trucking Association says the criticism was unfounded when you take the statistics in consideration.

Lakowski told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS the trucking industry was a heavily regulated one.

"Dangerous goods, commodities including jet fuel is reviewed on a annual basis; how it's transported and including the types of equipment that you use to move the fuel."

He compared the trucking industry with airlines. Statistically speaking, airplanes are a safer mode of travel compared to cars, but their crashes are highly publicized.

"Three per cent of collisions on Ontario roads involve commercial traffic. And then when you do have a commercial truck involved in a collision, two-thirds of the time the driver in the vehicle were found to be not at fault." 

In the case of commercial collisions involving dangerous goods, they make up less than one per cent of incidents, according to Lakowski.

He notes Transport Canada requires certain types of training every three years to keep their licence.

"Now that doesn't include the types of training and oversight that their individual companies are doing. And then as well the actual tanker truck designs, so where the fuel is carried, is reviewed on an annual basis."

Currently, dangerous commodities like jet fuel will continue to be transported by truck. Laskowski says the best thing the industry and government can do is continue to maintain a high standard of safety. That means looking for new technology and training and holding the few companies who don't follow the rules accountable.




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