OUR VIEW: Vehicle blitz highlights a lack of effort on safety

Trucks. What can we do about them?

We’re not talking about little pickup trucks. We’re talking about those huge ones that – despite serving a valuable purpose – manage to be the bane of our driving existence.

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Trucks rumble through our communities, slowing down traffic and often stopping in the middle of intersections with their large rear-ends sticking out during rush-hour, stop-and-go traffic.

Then there is the safety issue.

It’s clear that a large number of commercial truck drivers and companies are not taking good enough care of their vehicles, and that’s unacceptable.

For reference, we turn to a recent two-day vehicle inspection blitz in New Westminster that netted more than $19,000 in fines and $12,800 in bylaw tickets.

The police department’s commercial vehicle enforcement and traffic units led the vehicle inspection operation between Oct. 2 and 4 in partnership with the provincial commercial vehicle safety and enforcement branch.

The goal was to make sure business vehicles travelling through the city are properly maintained and safe, according to a police press release.

Officers focused on a number of mechanical components and driver qualifications including brakes, tires, lights, steering, load security, driver licensing and driver fatigue. Inspections included a quick visual check plus a look into the carrier’s history.

In all, 314 vehicles were inspected, and more than half had deficiencies that had to be repaired right away. Only 23 vehicles passed inspection without any issues, while 122 required minor repairs.

A total of 62 tickets were issued during the three-day enforcement blitz, according to the release.

Vehicles that were inspected included: cargo vans, pickup trucks, small delivery vehicles and trades vehicles, among other larger commercial vehicles.

So out of 314 vehicles that were inspected, only 23 managed to pass.

That seems like a small number. Is that a small number?  Yeah, it’s a small number.

Governments of all levels need to start pouring some more resources into ensuring these vehicles are up to safety standards. We need more inspections. More enforcement. Tougher penalties. Tickets shouldn’t just be a cost of doing business. Seize the vehicles. Make it hurt to ignore safety standards by cheaping out on repairs.

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