Truckers call out unsafe conditions at site of deadly highway crash
Members of Quebec’s trucking industry are speaking up about a Highway 440 interchange that was the site of a fatal crash on Tuesday.
Four people died and 15 others were injured in the multi-vehicle pileup at the exit for Highway in laval.
One car was crushed beneath the wheels of a tractor trailer and a fire soon spread to other vehicles.
On Tuesday, a Quebec coroner identified one of the victims as 26-year-old Robert Tanguay-Laplante.
While the cause of the crash isn’t yet known, a 35-year trucking veteran who runs a Facebook group for the industry said he’s been sounding the alarm about the interchange where the crash occurred for at least three years.
“It’s a major, major issue and nobody listened to us,” said Daniel Beaulieu.
Beaulieu said he spoke up online and at a public consultation after a 2016 accident in the same location.
“We already had one dead, one guy under 30 killed with a car crash and a truck crash and in exactly the same place,” he said. “We started doing some videos and we started doing some processes to try and shake the cage and do something.”
He said the government ignored suggestions for structural changes to the interchange that involved closing or changing some exits and entrances.
“Everybody is getting out at the same time and it’s jammed 12 hours a day so we got the result,” he said.
On Tuesday Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel said the interchange will be re-examined. In the short term, immediate changes will take place to lane markings so that drivers can’t legally change lanes close to an exit.
Marc Cadieux, president of Quebec’s trucking association, said the temporary steps are a good start but agreed with Beaulieu that the roadway is not designed to safely handle traffic congestion.
“It’s an infrastructure that’s been flagged a few times,” he said. “It’s a hectic place to drive, people going left and right, not knowing which lane to use.”