Vancouver Police crack down on unsafe commercial vehicles

 

Winter is coming – make sure your vehicles are safe.

That’s the message Vancouver Police are sending out to companies with commercial vehicles on the road.

 

“Sometimes you wait too long, and that’s when safety comes in. The cost of replacing your tires versus someone’s life – I know the answer to that.” – Sergeant Jason Robillard, Media Relations Officer with Vancouver Police Department

Taking a look under the hood: the Provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement conduct a thorough safety check (BCIT/Kori Sidaway)

With the changing seasons, commercial vehicles will take on their routes to face the rain and snow once again, and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) wants to ensure that the all commercial vehicles on the road meet safety standards.

“This is all about road safety – anything from a cracked windshield to bald tires. With the weather changing and coming up to the fall and winter, these are very heavy vehicles and we we want to make sure they’re all safe.”  – Sergeant Jason Robillard, Media Relations Officer with Vancouver Police Department

On bike, on foot, and in undercover vehicles, the VPD’s Commercial Vehicle Unit, together with local police, and the Provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement, inspected an array of commercial vehicles for safety violations in five random locations all over Vancouver for Tuesday September 12th and Wednesday September 13th.

The initiative focused on vehicles in obvious states of disrepair to flag down for inspection, reassuring the public that “the vast majority of commercial vehicles are operated safely and are well maintained.”

VPD officer and Provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement ensure that this truck has it’s load secured (BCIT/Kori Sidaway)

So what indicates obvious disrepair?

“Mechanical deficiencies, load security, bald tires, brakes, windshields, suspension, and steering components, are a few of the areas inspectors are targeting.” – Sergeant Jason Robillard, Media Relations Officer with Vancouver Police Department

On Tuesday September 12th, a total of 75 commercial vehicles were pulled over. Of those 75 vehicles, 100% had safety violations.

Forty vehicles (53%) faced violations so serious that police were forced to take them off the road and tow them from the site. For the first day of these random checks, a total of $11, 761.00 in fines were handed out. Depending on the violation, they are handed to the driver or the owner/operator. According to police, remains a typically a contentious sticky spot between employer and driver.

Two VPD officer’s discuss the level of tread left on the tires of this Sunrise Foods commercial truck (BCIT/Kori Sidaway)

Other than focused police initiatives like these, the year round responsibility of safety maintenance falls onto the shoulders of both the company and/or driver seeing as each company has its own internal safety requirements, procedures, and checks.

A VPD officer gives the rundown of the safety check to a recently pulled over truck driver (BCIT/Kori Sidaway)

With the VPD on the roads checking, towing, and handing out fines, their hope is to send home the message that drivers and companies must take responsibility of their vehicles on the road, for their own safety and that of others.

So what takes a commercial vehicle off the road? According to police, the typical rule of thumb is usually three or more violations, but it depends on the type of violation.

“Just from speaking to the inspectors and officers, a lot of the common [violations] are tires and brakes. What I’m also hearing is that you just need to check your truck. If you were to check your truck you would find these things – they’re quite obvious – but the drivers need to pay attention.” – Sergeant Jason Robillard, Media Relations Officer with Vancouver Police Department

Justin, a truck driver in the general Vancouver area, thought he was paying attention, with daily morning pre-inspections and fluid checks, but a small air leak from his rear tire put a pause on his day.

Nail in the coffin – a tiny nail and subsequent air leak is keeping this truck off the road until it’s fixed (BCIT/Kori Sidaway)

 

 

“We were just coming along, they were doing random checks, and a guy stepped out. They did a full inspection and found a small nail in the tire. We’re not allowed to go anywhere until it’s fixed. So, we’re waiting for the tire guy to put a plug in it.” – Justin, local truck driver

But Justin says he doesn’t mind the wait. He’s happy to see that police are out there ensuring the safety of commercial vehicles on the road.

“I’ve seen a lot of sketchy things…the rubbish removal services have some bad looking trucks, so it’s good that they are out checking….If it stops someone from a failure that could kill someone, then it’s worth it.” – Justin, local truck driver

Police did point out that they aren’t targeting just trucks and trailers, but any commercial vehicle including limousines, taxi’s etc. By the end of today or tomorrow, the Vancouver Police Department will have more numbers from the overall roadside safety inspections of commercial vehicles.