Tanker full of hot, liquid tar flips on Highway 401

A device that helps stop tractor-trailers from rolling over could have prevented two accidents that jammed up the same stretch of the 401 less than a week apart, the OPP said yesterday.


“I think there’s technology there that can help us,” Sgt. Cam Woolley said of the anti-rollover device, called an electronic stability control, or ESC.


Woolley’s comments came after a tanker rolled over early yesterday, spilling almost 40 tonnes of hot, liquid tar and closing the westbound collector lanes of Highway 401 at Keele Street for most of the day. The truck took a curve too quickly just west of Keele, Woolley said.


As it skidded along the concrete on its side, the tank burst open, spraying the tar across the highway and drenching the driver and the truck’s cab with burning liquid.


The device that could have stopped it all consists of sensors that automatically trigger the brakes, slowing a vehicle, when oversteering and understeering occur during cornering, lane changing or slippery surfaces.

It took firefighters about an hour to remove the 41-year old driver from the truck, freeing him from the tar. “This is very, very, hot — about (175 C), almost twice the heat of a car engine,” said Woolley.

The driver was airlifted to Sunnybrook hospital. He remained in serious, but stable, condition last night.