Const. Kevin Connolly threw out a frightening statistic during a recent phone conversation.
During a commercial truck inspection sweep earlier this year by the Burnaby RCMP and other agencies, such as Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement, 48 per cent of the vehicles failed in at least one area.
“Commercial vehicles are one of the highest-violating types that are on the road,” said Connolly, who works in the Burnaby RCMP’s traffic enforcement unit. “When you consider how big commercial vehicles are and the potential for damage, it’s concerning.”
Yes, it is concerning when you consider the types of violations range from poorly secured loads to mechanical issues like failing brakes.
So, Connolly expects an estimated 50 per cent of commercial vehicles to fail again this week as the RCMP, CVSE and others launch a three-day blitz at multiple locations in North and South Burnaby.
Connolly is particularly concerned about commercial vehicles in light of a disturbing December 2018 audit by B.C.’s auditor general, Carol Bellringer. The report found that, on average, over the past 10 years in B.C., about 300 people per year have died in motor vehicle incidents, with almost 20 per cent of those incidents involving a heavy commercial vehicle.
If this isn’t disturbing enough, consider than heavy commercial vehicles, such as dump trucks, container trucks and semi-trailers, represent less than three per cent of vehicles registered in B.C.
“I’ve seen the damage caused and it’s really, really bad,” Connolly said.
Police and inspectors have been pulling over these types vehicles today (Tuesday) and will continue at different sites on Wednesday and Thursday.
They can’t pull over every heavy commercial vehicle because they don’t have enough staff, so they prioritize, Connolly said, listing trucks with hazardous loads as a top target.
Inspectors look to see if drivers have proper paperwork, if loads are properly secured and if there are obvious signs of mechanical issues. There are different levels of violations. In the worst cases, licence plates are seized and vehicles are towed away. In less other cases, the violations are tracked to ensure drivers deal with the issues that are flagged.
I will be filing another story later this week with the results of these inspections. Click here to read the auditor general’s report.
You can also read Connolly's thoughts on the abuse traffic officers take by clicking here.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.