RCMP says truck safety needs upgrading

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SUSSEX, N.B. — Inspections of dump and water trucks working in the Sussex area recently led to 75 per cent of the trucks inspected off of the road because of major problems.

And that has one of the RCMP officers involved in the joint RCMP-Commercial Vehicle Enforcement inspection saying more needs to be done about truck safety.

Cst. Jacques Cloutier of the Mounties’ Highway Patrol in Sussex said there should be more education, as well as enforcement.

But the president of the dump truck association in southern New Brunswick said it’s not a matter of education, but better pay.

Doras Stennick, president of the New Brunswick Dump Truck Association and the Southern N.B. Trucking Association, said with the wages dump truck owner/operators work for in the province, after insurance, fuel and driver costs, there’s not much left to maintain a truck.

Cloutier said they do not tolerate unsafe vehicles and will pull them off the road immediately, and felt that many of the problems found in the inspections could have been repaired prior to inspecting. However, he said, when laying charges he takes into consideration the environment in which the trucks are working.

By all accounts, gravel pits are rough on trucks. A dump truck can start work in a gravel pit in the morning in perfect condition and by noon need three tires replaced.

The number of vehicles removed immediately from the road during the Sussex inspections, which were undertaken because of complaints, was higher than normal, said John Lunney, supervisor for the Saint John region Commercial Vehicle Enforcement with the Department of Public Safety, who was involved in the inspections.

He pointed to inspections over the past week in Saint John and St. Stephen that didn’t lead to as many vehicles being pulled off the road for major problems. In Saint John, seven of 20 were pulled off the road. In St. Stephen, three out of 11 were parked for major problems.

“I think it’s not fair to the trucking industry to categorize them all in that light,” Lunney said. “But there are definitely some trucks out there that need to be checked.”

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