Heavy commercial vehicles such as dump trucks and semi-trailers represent only three per cent of vehicles on B.C. roads, but they are involved in 19 per cent of fatal accidents, B.C.’s auditor general says in a new report.
Auditor General Carol Bellringer released an independent report on commercial vehicle safety, noting that most of those accidents are not the commercial driver’s fault, and safety programs to inspect and enforce regulations are working well. But B.C. does not have mandatory driver training for commercial vehicles, and accidents can be further reduced with other measures, the report says.
Safety education about heavy vehicles can save lives, and should be extended to all drivers, not just those behind the wheel of big rigs. Bellringer urged all drivers to review the province’s “Be Truck Aware” safe driving tips.
“Currently, drivers are not required to take specialized training to get their commercial licence in B.C.,” Bellringer said. “In comparison, Europe has had mandatory training for commercial drivers in place for more than 10 years, Ontario brought it in last year, the United States is phasing it in over three years, and Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta all have plans to do so soon.”
The audit found that while the public safety ministry, in charge of policing, the transportation ministry and the Insurance Corp. of B.C. all have education and awareness efforts for commercial vehicle safety, no one agency has overall responsibility and resources to do the job.