ICBC eyes changes to rules and regulations for commercial vehicles
May 1, 2001
VANCOUVER, B.C. - A set of proposals by the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC) could change the way commercial licences are obtained in B.C., and may even spell the end for some driving school...
COMING 'ROUND: It's too early to see proposals effects, say critics.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – A set of proposals by the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC) could change the way commercial licences are obtained in B.C., and may even spell the end for some driving schools.
The proposals, resulting from the 1997 Task Force on Commercial Vehicle Safety, include creating a minimum learning period for new drivers. The two-phase licensing program for new Class 1 drivers would only allow them to haul one trailer at a time for a lengthy period of time. As well, Class 1 drivers would not be allowed to operate buses without a Class 2 license.
Jack Forman, ICBC commercial- vehicle project manager, says the proposals will improve trucker safety and result in better-trained drivers behind the wheel.
“We want to make a difference in terms of the number of accidents,” says Forman. “I think this is all part of an overall approach to commercial vehicle safety.”
So far, ICBC has been consulting industry representatives about the proposed changes, and is gathering as much feedback as possible.
A second draft is now in the works, which will address all of the concerns raised by the industry.
“We have heard some common concerns, mostly around potential costs and potential impacts on driver availability, but on the other hand I think people recognized that generally speaking, things need to be done in terms of increasing the standards for getting a commercial-vehicle licence,” says Forman. “We will review everything heard and try to revise those proposals in light of what we’ve heard.”
One of the people involved in the consultation process was B.C. Trucking Association president Paul Landry. He says it’s too early to form an opinion on the proposals, as they are still being modified.
“The association has not taken a formal position and we’re not likely to do so until we see one more draft,” says Landry. “I expect ICBC will come out with another draft and at that point we will seriously consider it and provide some sort of input.”
Driver training schools are also anxiously awaiting the next draft, as they will be most affected by the changes.
Burnaby-based North Shore Driving School is one of several that has voiced its concern, fearing that the proposals could put them out of business.
“If they won’t consider professional training of any value,” says North Shore co-owner Josie Briton, “then we will suffer to the point that we won’t be able to survive.”
She suggests that allowances should be made within the regulations to allow truckers to upgrade their licences through professional training in lieu of a taking a provincial test. This would reduce the waiting period – as well as the negative impact on schools, Briton explains.
“We have real concerns about what they’re trying to do because we don’t agree with all of it,” says Briton. “Class 1 should still qualify for other categories as it does now.”
She adds that the current proposals are unfair toward Class 1 – or truck – drivers, and that Class 2 – or bus – drivers are really the catalysts behind the change.
“Truck drivers are just as responsible as bus drivers are,” says Briton.
Meanwhile, the work at ICBC continues.
“These are significant proposals and they would have to be endorsed so that’s our next step, and once we have that we can go ahead and start with our implementation process,” says Forman. “We do want to move forward with them as quickly as possible.” n