Home Workplace Legislation/Press Releases B.C. implements stricter penalties for commercial truck drivers after infrastructure crashes

B.C. implements stricter penalties for commercial truck drivers after infrastructure crashes

by HR Law Canada

The British Columbia government has announced increased penalties for commercial truck drivers involved in crashes affecting infrastructure, as part of a broader initiative to enhance highway safety. According to the new proposals, amendments to the Commercial Transport Act (CTA) would allow courts to levy fines up to $100,000 and impose imprisonment for up to 18 months upon conviction for certain violations.

Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, underscored the government’s commitment to road safety, stating, “With these new penalties, we are taking the strongest action possible to keep our roads safe and to keep people, goods, and services moving.” He emphasized that the measures are also meant to remind commercial truck drivers of their responsibility for the safe transportation of goods and to demonstrate that neglecting safety will have serious consequences.

The legislative changes come in response to 35 incidents since late 2021 involving over-height commercial vehicles, which have led to significant repair costs, highway closures, and disruptions to the supply chain affecting residents throughout British Columbia. These changes aim to address outdated laws, with the last significant amendments dating back to the 1970s.

The BC Trucking Association has expressed support for the proposed legislative enhancements. Dave Earle, the association’s president and CEO, praised the move to hold carriers accountable, stating, “Imposing stricter penalties for carriers supports road safety and helps protect infrastructure, and ultimately enhances safety for everyone on our roads.”

In addition to the updated penalties, the ministry has introduced several safety measures, including a new enforcement framework and carrier-suspension policy with escalating consequences for repeat offenses. Recent updates have also increased fines for over-height vehicles and mandated the use of in-cab warning devices for dump-style vehicles and speed-limiters to restrict heavy commercial vehicle speeds on highways.

Further efforts include collaboration with federal, provincial, and territorial partners to close loopholes allowing carriers with poor safety records to operate across jurisdictions. Moreover, the ministry is developing training materials to help commercial drivers correctly measure their vehicles and loads as part of the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 drivers.

These changes reflect the ministry’s ongoing commitment to enhancing road safety and holding companies accountable, ensuring both drivers and companies adhere to stringent safety standards.

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