Home Truck News Drivers who hit B.C. infrastructure could face $100,000 in fines, 18 months...

Drivers who hit B.C. infrastructure could face $100,000 in fines, 18 months in prison – Truck News

Drivers of commercial trucks involved in infrastructure crashes in British Columbia will face higher penalties. The proposed changes to the Commercial Transport Act (CTA) will enable the courts to impose fines for as much as $100,000, as well as imprisonment up to 18 months upon conviction for violations, according to a news release.

“With these new penalties, we are taking the strongest action possible to keep our roads safe and to keep people, goods and services moving,” Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure said in the release. “This also sends a message to commercial truck drivers that they are responsible for the safe transportation of goods and services on our roads, and a lax attitude toward safety will not be tolerated.”

Traffic flows under a bridge on Highway 1 in B.C.
Traffic flows under a bridge on Highway 1 in British Columbia. The bridge’s posted height is 4.40 meters (14.4 feet). A tractor trailer’s average height is 4.15 meters (13.5 feet). Repairs to damaged areas where vehicles have hit the bridge are visible. (File photo)

The legislative changes are in response to 35 crashes that have occurred since late 2021 by over-height commercial vehicles. Laws surrounding highway infrastructure crashes have not changed since the 1970s. The overwhelming majority of responsible truck drivers and the trucking industry have urged tougher action on the small number of irresponsible operators that have caused these crashes.

The proposed maximum penalty for commercial transport violations is far above other Canadian provinces and territories, and falls in line with the maximum penalties applied to rail and dangerous-goods safety.

BCTA welcomes proposed changes

The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) has been consulted and supports the proposed increase in maximum penalties. “The BCTA welcomes the legislative change by the Province to hold carriers accountable,” said Dave Earle, BCTA president and CEO. “Imposing stricter penalties for carriers supports road safety and helps protect infrastructure, and ultimately enhances safety for everyone on our roads.”

Last month the B.C. government issued a formal cancellation notice to Chohan Freight Forwarders, the carrier that crashed six times in two years into the province’s infrastructure.

This change represents the latest in a series of steps the ministry has taken recently to address the issue, including formalizing a progressive-enforcement framework and carrier-suspension policy that provides escalating consequences for carriers who commit repeat offences, including the possible loss of safety certificates, prohibiting their operation.

Speed limiters mandated

Fines were recently raised to the highest amount allowed under the current law for over-height vehicles, from $100 to the maximum allowable penalty of $500. A new requirement was also put in place (effective June 1, 2024) for in-cab warning devices to alert dump-style vehicle operators when the dump box is raised. Speed-limiter devices were also mandated, preventing heavy commercial vehicles from travelling more than 105 km/h on B.C. highways.

The province has successfully taken up this issue with federal, provincial and territorial counterparts through the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety. The council is working to address loopholes where carriers with problematic safety records prohibited in one jurisdiction may continue operating in a neighboring jurisdiction. 


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