North of Kamloops More Law Enforcement Needed After Fatal Truck Accidents: BC Secretary of Transportation
British Columbia will consider beefing up traffic policing, lowering speed limits and making dash cams mandatory for commercial vehicles after two fatal crashes on Highway 5 north of Kamloops, BC Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said.
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.
Just under a week earlier, another driver was killed when two commercial vehicles collided on the same stretch of Highway 5 about 10 miles south near McLure.
Fleming said he was concerned about the growing number of fatal vehicle accidents along about 40 kilometers of Highway 5 outside of Kamloops, about 355 kilometers northeast of Vancouver.
“Anytime there is a death it is obviously tragic for family and loved ones and tragic for everyone [police] Officers who have to take part in such a scene,” he said on CBC Daybreak of Kamloops.
All of the 159 tickets issued along Highway 5 north of Kamloops over the past nine days were issued to commercial truck drivers, and 100 were speed-related, Fleming said.
More RCMP officers are needed amid rising traffic violations and lower speed limit signs are to be posted along the corridor stretching from Rayleigh to Barriere, he said.
Barrier Mayor Ward Stamer called for temporary winter speed reductions but also for mandatory installation of dash cameras on all commercial vehicles in BC, saying it would make drivers more accountable and provide evidence when accidents do occur.
No Canadian provinces or territories have a law requiring the installation of dashcams in commercial vehicles, Fleming said, adding that the BC government must discuss possible legislation with the privacy commissioner.
Law enforcement and mandatory dash cams required
Haulage industry professionals join the Minister’s call for more law enforcement officers on the road and the Mayor of Barriere’s call for compulsory installation of dashcams in commercial vehicles.
Jim Nagel, who has been driving with Kamloops-based transportation company Arrow for four decades, said many RCMP officers used to check drivers’ speeds on Highway 5.
“When I first started in this business in the late ’70s and early ’80s, there were police everywhere – you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a police car.
“[Now] They’re like ghosts – they only appear when the accidents happen,” Nagel said.
Beginning in August this year, BC will require commercial vehicles to use electronic logging devices to track drivers’ time behind the wheel to reduce the likelihood of fatigue driving.
In October 2021, the province introduced mandatory introductory training for new applicants for a Class 1 commercial driver’s license, including temporary foreign workers, before taking a road test.
Kamloops’ retired driving instructor Tim Wourms said the training was necessary, especially since the trucking industry was deregulated in the 2000s and many people with no driving experience in Canada entered the industry.
“You [could] The day you left your road test, jumping into a loaded Super-Bee full of gas and driving it in a winter storm — that’s wrong,” Wourms said, noting that some people have no experience driving in snow have.