As some of you may know, I am a resident of British Columbia, and I would be the first to encourage folks to visit this spectacular province.However, if you do decide to visit, do so as a regular resp...
As some of you may know, I am a resident of British Columbia, and I would be the first to encourage folks to visit this spectacular province.
However, if you do decide to visit, do so as a regular respected citizen and not as a truck driver, or at least wait until a new government obtains power in the impending provincial election.
B.C.’s current NDP government has it in for truckers, and I’ve got evidence to back this up.
One of the most obvious indications that B.C. is not truck friendly is the mere existence of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC). This bureaucratic behemoth has numerous policies that are anti-truck and a constant source of pain in the trucking industry’s side.
These range from exceptionally high registration and insurance fees for commercial vehicles to 24-hour harassment at numerous scale locations. A few other of my favorites are poor payouts on insurance claims; a road-safety public awareness program that makes no sense; a toll-free number for citizens to report commercial vehicles for infractions as small as faulty reflectors; and an over-zealous enforcement regime.
A few years back, when the weigh stations staff was transferred to ICBC from the Ministry of Highways, I was quick to promote the change. That being said, I would like to publicly state that I was wrong and I’ve changed my opinion.
The mission statement of the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Inspections division of ICBC reads: “…to promote traffic safety on the roads of British Columbia and support a competitive and economically viable commercial-vehicle industry.”
I would like to know exactly when ICBC plans to promote safety and support the industry, because it certainly isn’t doing it now.
I find it rather peculiar that ICBC expects – even demands – perfection from the trucking industry, yet it is so very far removed from even being close to the same standard.
The second item that indicates that B.C. is anti-truck is BC Rail. Never in the history of Crown corporations have taxpayers been taken for such a ride – especially considering some of those taxpayers drive truck.
It is outright scandalous that my tax dollars go to support a corporation that in turn cuts freight rates to the point that it isn’t economically viable for anyone to compete.
For those outside of B.C., you should know BC Rail has the cheapest rates for its truck fleet on the entire coast. As a result, B.C. truckers’ taxes are ironically subsidizing their own financial ruin.
Yet another indication that B.C. is less then friendly to trucks is the pathetic state of the province’s infrastructure. Many roads are seriously inadequate; the condition of many highways is terrible.
Take for example the Trans-Canada Highway, which, between Abbotsford and Vancouver, sees more than twice the traffic volume it was designed for.
Or look at the truck routes through the lower mainland; or the toll on the Coquihalla; or the Okanagan Valley. Or how about the infamous Cape Horn interchange, notorious for its unbelievable congestion.
One particular area of B.C. infrastructure that has been neglected to the point of being very unsafe, along with having a negative impact on the provinces economy, is the Pacific Highway commercial-truck crossing, which borders with Blaine, Washington. As a professional driver, I share the same opinion with many of my peers that the NDP government in B.C. has not put near enough priority on the roads and bridges within B.C.
So I hope everyone remembers to get out and vote – except for any of you who happen to be NDP supporters, mind you. Maybe once the ruling party is voted out of power the government will have a much better grip on reality. n
– Dave Holleman is an over-the-road owner/operator and a monthly contributor to Truck News.