RICHMOND, B.C. – Drivers will again be “Shifting into Winter” in B.C. and across Canada in the coming weeks, and for the 11th year, WorkSafeBC wants to remind truckers to be prepared before hitting the road.
Trina Pollard, manager of industry and labor services – transportation and occupational road safety for WorkSafeBC, outlined for Truck News-West three key steps drivers in B.C. and across the country should be doing before driving on winter roads, with preparation being a point of emphasis.
“Heavy trucks are required to carry chains on designated highways in B.C. between Oct. 1 and April 30,” explained Pollard, saying heavy trucks are defined as those 11,794 kg and over. “Commercial vehicle drivers must know when they are required to install chains or other approved traction devices, how to properly install these devices, and where the chain-up/pull-out locations and fuel stops are on their routes.”
Fines for not carrying chains or using them when required by law increase Oct. 1 in B.C. Drivers will face a $196 fine for not carrying chains during mandatory times, and a $598 fine will be imposed for not installing chains during required chain ups. Base-level fines during previous winters were $121 for not carrying chains or failing to install them when they were required.
Pollard also said drivers should be proactive when it comes to checking road and weather conditions along their planned route, advising drivers to check www.drivebc.ca prior to departure.
“If possible, drivers should monitor road and weather conditions and delay travel until conditions improve,” she said.
Finally, it’s important for truckers to drive according to conditions, and slow down when necessary.
WorkSafeBC’s Shift into Winter campaign is a joint provincial effort led by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, which is made up of approximately 20 organizations all committed to improving safe winter driving behaviors and practices in B.C.
“The Shift into Winter campaign is designed to raise awareness of the changing weather and driving conditions across the province and how motorists and employers need to be prepared,” said Pollard, adding that for those who drive for work, the months of November, December, and January are the most dangerous. “From 2014 to 2018, almost a third of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time-loss claims occur during these three months.”
WorkSafeBC aims to provide education, resources, consultation, and enforcement to help keep drivers safe on provincial roads.
“Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees who drive for work,” said Pollard, “regardless of whether they drive a company-owned or personal vehicle.”
The Shift into Winter campaign provides various resources, such as a winter driving safety online course for employers and supervisors, as well as an employer toolkit that includes a policy and procedures template.
Drivers can access information on how to prepare their vehicle and themselves for winter driving, and take on online quiz to test their knowledge.
Carriers and drivers will see additional resources at www.shiftintowinter.ca to prepare for winter, including Winterizing Your Safety Plan: Information for Commercial Carriers, How to Install Chains, and Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers.
“Driving, whether you are professional or not, is hazardous,” said Pollard. “Winter conditions can increase the risks drivers face behind the wheel. Preventing work-related vehicle crashes is smart business – it saves lives and avoids serious injuries, property damage, downtime, and lost productivity, particularly during the higher risk winter months.”