OHS Canada Magazine

B.C. wants unified truck safety system after spate of overpass crashes reveals gaps

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January 9, 2024
By The Canadian Press

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Photo: Government of BC

British Columbia’s transport minister has written to his federal counterpart asking for the closure of road safety gaps he says allow some trucking companies to avoid consequences while operating unsafely across Canada.

Rob Fleming’s letter on Monday to Pablo Rodriguez comes after a series of incidents involving commercial trucks or their cargo slamming into highway overpasses.

A company involved in an overpass crash a on Highway 99 last month had its B.C. fleet taken off the road, but because it’s part of a group that also has a fleet in Alberta, those trucks are still allowed to work in B.C.

Fleming says in the letter that suspension or cancellation of a carrier’s safety certificate in one jurisdiction doesn’t affect their operations based in another.

He says safety certificates are issued by the jurisdiction where a vehicle is plated, and no single authority is responsible for oversight of a carrier’s entire operations if they have certificates in multiple jurisdictions.


Fleming says a solution is required and he wants the issue put on the agenda of the next meeting of transport ministers.

He says a small minority of companies are creating huge problems for road safety and causing extensive infrastructure damage.

In the December incident, a load of construction girders was being carried by Langley, B.C., based Chohan Freight Forwarders when it smashed into an overpass in Delta.

The company’s B.C. fleet of 65 trucks were taken out of service, but social media users shared photographs they said were taken in B.C. last week that showed trucks branded “Chohan Group” and “Edmonton.”

Asked about the posts, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation said Chohan operated in Alberta as a separate entity.

Fleming said in his letter to Rodriguez that the “current decentralized safety certificate model” leaves an operator suspended in one jurisdiction “free to continue their operations with no change to their safety practices by using vehicles plated in another jurisdiction.”


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