BC Mayor urges additional safety measures after fatal accident on stretch of Highway 5

The mayor of Barrier, BC wants the province to consider mandatory dash cams on commercial vehicles following two fatal accidents in the area.  (Tim Boyle/Getty Images - photo credit)

The mayor of Barrier, BC wants the province to consider mandatory dash cams on commercial vehicles following two fatal crashes in the area. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images – photo credit)

After two fatal accidents on Highway 5 north of Kamloops, BC, the mayor of a local community wants the province to consider additional safety measures like reduced speed limits and mandatory dashboard cameras for commercial vehicles.

A driver was killed and a passenger taken to the hospital on February 9 after two commercial vehicles and a pickup truck collided on the freeway near Louis Creek, BC.

Almost exactly a week earlier, another driver was killed when two trucks collided on the same stretch of Highway 5 about 10 miles south near McLure.

Ward Stamer, the mayor of Barrier, BC, says there has been an increase in crashes on about 25 miles of Highway 5 outside of Kamloops, where the carriageway is being reduced from four lanes to two.

“All of a sudden you’re just on a regular two-lane freeway and you get into some rock ravines and pretty twisty, twisty roads,” Stamer said.

“Combine that with changing weather conditions and having a speed limit of 100 can be a recipe for disaster [km/h] and there is no way to slow that traffic down.”

Stamer says there has been an increase in commercial vehicles along the route in recent years.

He calls for improved security measures for the area, such as temporary speed reductions in winter. He also wants to consider making dash cams mandatory for all commercial vehicles in BC as it would make drivers more accountable and provide evidence when accidents do occur.

privacy concerns

The BC Trucking Association (BCTA), which represents around 26,000 people operating 13,000 vehicles in the province, says at least half of its members have dashcams in their vehicles.

BCTA President and CEO Dave Earle says he doesn’t oppose Stamer’s call for mandatory dashcams in commercial vehicles, but says lawmakers must respect driver privacy.

“A commercial vehicle is a moving workplace and that means there are other areas of law that apply and one of those is obviously data protection,” Earle said.

Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Greg Munden, chief executive of transport company LOTS Group Canada, says his company installed dash cams on its fleet of 50 trucks six years ago.

Munden admits that drivers were initially reluctant to have dashcams in their vehicles due to privacy concerns, but they quickly embraced the idea.

“Certainly the pros far outweigh the cons, and it’s just a really inexpensive … step you can take down the road to safety,” he said.

“Taking local concerns seriously”

According to Stamer, the province has increased maintenance of Highway 5 and security patrols.

“But obviously it doesn’t make a difference,” he said.

He wants the government to invest in Highway 5, possibly widening the roadway and implementing other safety measures, such as the expansion of Highway 1 to Chase, BC and a four-lane commercial vehicle brake control area outside of Revelstoke.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, the BC Department of Transportation confirmed it has increased patrols from its Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Division and is reviewing the section of the highway where the February 9 accident occurred to determine whether additional security measures are justified.

“Safety on our highways is our top priority,” the statement said. “That’s why the ministry is continuing its work to increase traffic safety in commercial traffic.”

The department did not comment on whether the province is considering reducing the speed limit on Highway 5 by 10,000 or making dash cams mandatory.

It said it was considering introducing electronic logging devices to monitor drivers’ hours of operation and exploring the use of speed limiters to keep drivers within posted limits.

Stamer says he hopes to meet with Transport Secretary Rob Fleming this week to discuss his concerns and urge more immediate action.


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