Modes of Transportation

In a Heavy Vehicle

There are more than 150,000 heavy vehicles registered in Québec. Speed limiters, blind spots, driver fatigue: driving a heavy vehicle safely requires special knowledge and compliance with specific obligations.

Speeding and reckless driving are a factor in most accidents

Reckless driving and speeding are the main causes of fatal accidents involving a heavy vehicleA road vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,500 kg or more, or a combination of road vehicles having a gross combination weight rating of 4,500 kg or more. The following vehicles are also considered to be heavy vehicles regardless of their GVWR: buses, minibuses, tow trucks, vehicles transporting dangerous substances requiring the display of safety marks. .

What are speeding and reckless driving?

Any speed or reckless action that could put the safety or life of a person in danger or damage property. Such is the case whenever a driver’s speed is too high for the circumstances, even if the driver does not exceed the legal speed limit.


Source : Detailed profile of facts and statistics regarding heavy vehicles (PDF, 1.4 MB)This file does not meet Web accessibility standards. (Profil détaillé des faits et des statistiques touchant les véhicules lourds – in French only)

Heavy vehicle speed limiter

Activating and setting a speed limiter at 105 km/h is mandatory to prevent trucks and equipment transport vehicles from travelling at speeds greater than 105 km/h.

This measure applies to all operators of heavy vehicle with a gross vehicle weight ratingA vehicle’s weight, including its maximum load capacity, according to the manufacturer’s specifications. (GVWR) of 11,794 kg or more travelling on the Québec road network, regardless of their place of origin.

Heavy vehicles exempt from using a speed limiter

  • Private busesA bus or minibus used to carry passengers free of charge. and public busesA bus or minibus used to transport paying passengers. This definition excludes buses or minibuses used to transport school children.
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Tool vehiclesA road vehicle, other than a vehicle mounted on a truck chassis, designed to perform a task and having a workstation integrated into the cab. A truck chassis is a frame fitted with the mechanical components found on a vehicle made for the transportation of passengers, freight or equipment.

Adapting your speed to driving conditions

On a road in good condition and under good driving conditions:

  • a truck (10-wheeler) travelling at 50 km/h needs 36 metres (about 118 feet) before coming to a stop
  • a truck (10-wheeler) travelling at 100 km/h needs 161 metres (about 528 feet) before coming to a stop
  • braking distance could be greater depending on the condition of the brakes or tires and the vehicle’s weight

Fines double for speeding in road work zones!

In order to ensure the safety of workers and other road users, fines are doubled when it comes to speeding in road work zones. Take care to respect the posted limits and slow down.

Distraction

There are many different sources of driver distraction. The most common ones are smoking and using a smart phone or screen, followed by eating and drinking.

Many studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving significantly increases the risk of being involved in an accident.

Using a cell phone at the wheel:

  • reduces the driver's ability to analyze a situation and react
  • increases the adaptation time required to maintain a safe distance between vehicles
  • makes it more difficult to perform tasks that appear simple, such as driving in a straight line and keeping the vehicle in the centre of the lane
  • reduces the driver's ability to avoid unforeseen obstacles such as potholes, cyclists and pedestrians
  • reduces the driver's field of vision

Screens can be just as dangerous. They are a major source of distraction, even when they are used to display information that is useful for driving. Before using a screen, find out which ones are allowed and which ones are prohibited.

Exceptions

The prohibition from holding a device equipped with a telephone function does not apply to a two-way radio, that is, a cordless voice communication device that does not allow the parties to speak simultaneously.

Heavy vehicle blind spots

Because of their length and especially their height, heavy vehicles have several blind spots that can make it difficult for their drivers to see cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

Straight-body truck

Illustration showing the blind spots in front of, on both sides of, and behind a straight-body truck

  1. In front: the longer the hood, the bigger the blind spot. The driver would be unable to see a small car right in front of the hood.
  2. On the sides: since visibility on the sides is limited by blind spots, the driver has only rearview mirrors to rely on.
  3. At the rear: the rear blind spot is very long. It is important to pay attention when a straightbody truck is backing up.

City buses

Illustration showing the blind spots in front of, on both sides of, and behind a city bus

  1. In front: the front blind spot is smaller than a truck's because city buses have flat fronts. Nonetheless, pillars on either side of the windshield and bike racks may limit visibility.
  2. On the sides: because of the bus's large size, its side blind spots are very large even with properly adjusted rearview mirrors. Side blind spots are even bigger for articulated buses.
  3. At the rear: the rear blind spot is also large. It is important to pay attention when a bus is backing up.

Motor coaches

Illustration showing the blind spots in front of, on both sides of, and behind a motor coach

  1. In front: the front blind spot is similar to that of a city bus because of the flat front. However, a motor coach's driver's compartment is higher, making its blind spots bigger.
  2. On the sides: because of the motor coach's significant size and height, its side blind spots cover a large area.
  3. At the rear: the rear blind spot is very long because motor coaches do not have rear windows.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Heavy vehicle blind spots – Cars (French only)

Transcript :

Seeing and being seen properly: a full-time job!

Heavy vehicle drivers:

  • be mindful of people around your vehicle, especially at urban intersections
  • watch and anticipate the movements of pedestrians and cyclists
  • never assume that your intentions and manoeuvres are predictable for other road users, for example:
    • when turning at an intersection, especially when turning right, if you must encroach upon the adjacent lane or the shoulder
  • make sure your rearview mirrors are clear, in good condition and properly adjusted
  • keep your headlights on at all times
  • use your turn signal lights to indicate your intention to turn or change lanes

Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue concerns all drivers, especially in the road transportation industry.

Long work hours, irregular schedules, night shifts and the long distances travelled make professional drivers potentially more at risk. Regulatory provisions concerning the number of hours of driving and off-duty time alone are not enough to eliminate the risk of fatigue-related accidents among heavy vehicle drivers.

Useful information

North American Fatigue Management Program

The goal of the North American Fatigue Management Program is to reduce driver fatigue, improve the quality of life of drivers, and lower the rate of accidents caused by fatigue and the related costs. The program targets heavy vehicle drivers and their families, employers, shippers, dispatchers and company safety supervisors.

The main goals of the program are to understand fatigue and to convey the importance of proper sleep hygiene and a healthy lifestyle.

Seat belts

In Québec, drivers of heavy vehicles must wear the seat belt installed by the vehicle manufacturer. Statistics prove that this greatly reduces the number of deaths and the severity of injuries caused by traffic accidents.

Wearing a seat belt properly

Discomfort, negligence, forgetfulness and short trips are all excuses given for failing to buckle up. Failure to wear a seat belt is frequently noted by peace officers during traffic stops, stops at inspection stations and enforcement activities.

Heavy vehicle drivers and alcohol: less than 50 mg per 100 ml of blood

In Québec, driving or having the care or control of a heavy vehicleA road vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,500 kg or more, or a combination of road vehicles having a gross combination weight rating of 4,500 kg or more. The following vehicles are also considered to be heavy vehicles regardless of their GVWR: buses, minibuses, tow trucks, vehicles transporting dangerous substances requiring the display of safety marks., other than a bus or minibus, is prohibited if your blood alcohol concentration is 50 mg/100 ml or over.

Bus, minibus and taxi drivers: zero alcohol

In Québec, driving or having the care or control of a bus or a minibus is prohibited if you have alcohol in your system.

Other measures or penalties may apply to heavy vehicle drivers.