VANCOUVER — Safety on resource roads has been a big issue in B.C. and the province is employing the use of radar equipment in a new initiative to reduce deaths and injuries in logging.
Radar-equipped forest officers have already begun patrolling the province’s network of resource roads.
The province currently has four radar guns and another six are on the way.
Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell told the Vancouver Sun recently that the province has purchased radar guns and is training forest district staff on their use as part of a broader resource roads safety initiative – and some of the guns are in use already.
Regulating traffic on the 59,000 km of resource roads is the province’s responsibility, but until now, enforcement has been severely lacking.
“Rules do apply and they are going to be enforced,” MaryAnne Arcand, a director of the B.C. forest safety council, told the Vancouver Sun. “Speed is a huge factor in accidents and there’s a whole mythology with the public and with industry that there are no rules in the bush.”
While there are thousands of logging trucks in B.C., use of the resource roads in recent years has increased by the oil and gas industry, as well as the general public. It’s a point not lost on Rick Publicover, executive director of the Central Interior Logging Association, who noted that radar will aid in improving logging road safety and public users of the roads who are the worst offenders.
The default speed limit on resource roads is 80 km/h unless lower limits are posted.
Last year in B.C., nine people died on resource roads, three logging truck drivers and six passenger car commuters.
The numbers are down from 2005, one of the worst safety years on record in the forest industry, when 17 people died on logging roads.
— with files from the Vancouver Sun
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