We Spoke To A Professional Truck Driver About Quebec Highway Safety & The "Dangerous" 440, Here's What He Said Must Change
In the wake of a massive collision that left 4 people dead on Autoroute 440 in Laval on Monday, François Bonnardel, Quebec's transport minister and Transports Québec have been put to taskabout making changes to what many have called a hazardous stretch of highway.
The crash occurred in the afternoon on a busy section of Highway 440. According to interviews conducted by La Presse, the merging lanes can be dangerous for all drivers.
Reports indicate that the crash was caused by one vehicle colliding into a truck while merging into the exit lane. The large propane truck burst into flames, which lead to a pile-up.
To learn more about potentially dangerous road layouts and highway safety, we spoke with Alex Medvedev, a professional truck driver in Montreal about his experiences, especially in the most dangerous areas.
According to CBC News, most highway deaths in Canada occur on roads where the posted speed limit is over 60km/hour.
Mr. Medvedev tells me that most highways have an under 70km speed limit in merging lanes, but on Quebec's 440 and the 15, they're much higher.
"I see fender benders and small accidents every day. As a matter of fact, the same thing happened at the same exact spot last year when a dump truck and a semi collided and hit a couple of cars. It's surprising nothing has been done since. Probably because it wasn't deadly last year."
Drame sur l'A440 ouest à Laval: Au moins six véhicules - dont deux poids lourds - impliqués dans une violente colli… https://t.co/Le36UxquNp— Maxime Deland (@Maxime Deland) 1565038468.0
The SAAQ's road safety record states that there was only a 1.6% increase in road fatalities in 2018. Still, Mr. Medvedev experiences many close calls every single day.
"To make it safer the 440 needs to be a 70 zone in a mile radius from its merge with the 15. Adding a radar would also help a lot," he says.
"Highway 440 is very busy at all times and the merge with the 15 makes is really dangerous because lots of people don't expect this kind of sudden traffic out of nowhere," says Mr. Medvedev.
Truck drivers have it especially bad on the road and even the most experienced have a hard time controlling their massive trucks in dangerous situations. Medvedev has been working for almost a decade and still experiences close calls every trip.
Video: Horrifying scene after trucks, cars collide on Highway 440 in Que. https://t.co/il1dUSQfdH https://t.co/tFEa4QuaxQ— CTV News (@CTV News) 1565117159.0
He drives a 26-foot rig all over Quebec and Ontario. His main daily route is on the South Shore, in Candiac.
"People with regular cars jump in front of us every single day which is extremely dangerous considering the rig can weigh up to 110,000 pounds. Not easy to stop that and I get to deal with this every day. People need to be a lot more careful around trucks and jumping in front of us," he says.
"We don't always see you and if it goes wrong we see you too late and accidents happen".
The Transport Ministry promises to make changes to Highway 440 and the merge around to Highway 15.
But the province may also have to reconsider its approach to raod layouts elsewhere, too.