VICTORIA, B.C. – The Auditor General of B.C. says the Province can do more to ensure commercial vehicle safety.
The report says over the last 10 years, 300 people have died per year in motor vehicle incidents, with almost 20% of those collisions involving a commercial vehicle.
“The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and ICBC have commercial vehicle safety programs in place that prevent crashes and save lives, but much more needs to be done to ensure British Columbia’s roads are safe,” said Carol Bellringer, auditor general.
Heavy commercial vehicles, such as dump trucks, container trucks and semi-trailers, represent about 3% of vehicles registered in B.C., yet they are involved in 19% of fatal collisions in the province. In the majority of fatal collisions involving a heavy commercial vehicle, the commercial driver is not at fault.
Safety education and awareness programs for road users on safe driving in and around commercial vehicles can prevent crashes. However, these programs are limited in B.C. because even though multiple organizations are involved, none have the budget or authority for overall responsibility. The report recommends that government establishes clear responsibility for the promotion of commercial vehicle road safety education and awareness.
Government also needs to review the standards for commercial driver licensing. In B.C., drivers are not required to take driver training to get their commercial licence. Government does not know whether commercial driving standards in B.C. are adequate but has recently started to address this issue.
The report also recommends that government do more to ensure commercial vehicles are operating safely on B.C.’s roads. For example, government does not have a clear and effective system to hold licensed private inspection facilities accountable for complying with commercial vehicle safety standards. Also, commercial vehicle safety and enforcement officers have a challenging job and could be more effective with better supports.