OHS Canada Magazine

B.C. toughens penalties for truckers who crash into overpasses in bid to improve highway safety

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December 15, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety british columbia Road Safety Trucking

Photo: Government of BC

British Columbia is setting tougher penalties for truckers who crash into highway infrastructure such as bridges in an effort to make highway travel safer.

Trucking companies involved in such crashes will see stronger consequences that escalate for repeat offences, it said. This includes potential suspension and possible cancellation of a company’s carrier safety certificate, essentially preventing their operation in B.C.

The province said “unprecedented penalties have recently been imposed by suspending a company’s entire fleet,” while Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement investigates. The immediate suspensions and the significant cost they bring to a company will be a permanent tool. However, repeat offenders will face longer suspensions and may have their certificate to operate in B.C. revoked.

“Infrastructure crashes have a huge impact. They delay commuters, affect the movement of goods and can impede first responders. This means families, businesses and the economy all suffer,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Safety is the priority and this issue needs to stop. That’s why we’re taking tougher action, grounding fleets through suspensions and increasing fines, so highway traffic keeps moving safely and reliably for travellers and commercial vehicles, and people can count on their commute.”

New, higher fines

Recent regulatory changes will also bring in new and higher fines for various offences, holding carriers and drivers accountable for the safe and professional movement of goods on provincial highways.


Additionally, new speed-limiter regulations will further improve safety by requiring heavy commercial vehicles operating in the province to have their speed-limiting systems activated and programmed by April 5, 2024. This will prevent these vehicles from travelling more than 105 km/h on B.C. highways. The fine for speed-limiter non-compliance and tampering is $295 and three driver penalty points.

“The BC Trucking Association welcomes and supports the decisive measures taken by the provincial government to enhance safety and reduce infrastructure crashes involving commercial heavy-duty trucks,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO, BC Trucking Association. “These initiatives mark a pivotal step toward creating safer roadways for all and underscore our shared commitment to fostering a culture focused on risk-prevention in the trucking industry.”

Specific amendments to the Commercial Transport Regulations and the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations bring in new offences and higher fines to address over-height vehicles and loads, as well as require dump-style vehicles to have in-cab warning devices by June 1, 2024. This will alert a driver if the dump box is raised when the vehicle is in motion. The over-height vehicle related fines will be $575 (previously $115), making this the highest fine of its nature in Canada. Not complying with having in-cab warning devices in dump trucks will result in a fine of $598.

While B.C.’s new fines for infrastructure crashes will become the highest in Canada, fine amounts are currently limited by legislation. The Province is reviewing potential legislative changes that would allow even higher fines in the future.


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