The Ontario Provincial Police are not consistent in all areas of the Province in the manner in which they provide the public with crucial information needed to keep them safe. However its Highway Safety Division did an excellent job in providing four photos of a collision site on Highway 400 near Barrie, Ontario where safety issues have been well documented. The collision occurred near Mapleview Drive and involved a tractor-trailer which came to rest over top of the concrete median barrier. While the road tractor remained on the proper side of the barrier the trailer fell onto the opposite side and spilt its load into the opposing lanes. The OPP indicated that multiple vehicles were involved but that injuries were only minor. The three remaining OPP photos are shown below.
The results shown in these photos indicate that the concrete barrier was of some limited success in preventing the tractor-trailer from crossing into the opposing lanes of the highway. The height of the barrier is not known at this location however barrier heights have an influence on the ability of large trucks to tip over them and better control can be had in preventing rollover when a barrier is taller.
In the US The AASHTO has published a manual called the “Manual for Assessment of Safety Hardware” or MASH. It provides for test procedures of various roadside barriers. It is not clear how Ontario determines whether their roadside barriers perform to a similar standard. And this is an important point. No one seems to ask this important question about roadside barrier performance in Ontario. What standards are accepted and why? Many organizations including police, news media and others ought to be engaging the public in a discussion about what is an acceptable level of risk to the public.