You would think that road safety would be top of mind for commercial vehicles on the road in British Columbia. In Canada a commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle having a gross weight or registered gross weight of not more than 4,500 kilograms. In British Columbia a commercial vehicle is defined as taxis, ambulances, school buses and vehicles with more than two axles such as dump trucks and commercial transport trucks.
Last year at this time the Delta Police Department partnered with the Province’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch to conduct a three day enforcement campaign inspecting commercial vehicles. The results were shocking~as Ian Jacques with the Delta Optimist wrote , of “378 vehicles targeted for full inspections, 160 were pulled off the road.”
Think of that~42 percent of the vehicles inspected were so unsafe they could not be legally driven. At that same inspection there was a stolen trailer with stolen plates, and several drivers that had not complied with previous orders to fix their vehicles.
Last week the Delta Police teamed up with Burnaby RCMP to inspect commercial trucks out at Deltaport for only one morning. In that one morning of 125 vehicles, 21 were flagged. Off the 21 trucks, seven were not road worthy and could not be driven for commercial purposes, and 14 were ticketed for violations. These are the vehicles that service the port, drive Metro Vancouver highways and enter the municipalities.
And earlier this year Burnaby RCMP pulled over a 11,700 kilogram dump truck for a “routine” commercial vehicle inspection. It turned out the driver did not even have a license, but only a “L” license, which is given after a multiple choice exam as a learner’s permit.
Last year B.C. Trucking Association president Dave Earle stated “From our perspective, it is no worse than it had been in the past, but that is far from being good enough. I wish we had a way to have a lot more enforcement – both from policing agencies, CVSE — but until you have an industry and professionals in this industry that treat their equipment the way it needs to be treated, recognize the stature and importance of the work that is being done, we will always have these marginal companies operating and it’s incredibly frustrating.”
There appears to be no way for commercial truck drivers to self enforce a standard of maintenance, meaning that enforcement needs to be done by co-ordinating police departments with the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) and the Province. That punitive approach, taking police resources to enforce a standard of safety and road worthiness is confirmed by Mr. Earle.
“Often we find regulation makes it harder for the good companies to do it right and just makes the difference between those and the bottom group of companies who are doing it wrong… makes it more attractive to cheat.So we continue to advocate for government to do more. We need to push government to do more and do things more effectively for our industry.”