B.C. proposes $100k fines and jail time for trucking collisions

The province has seen dozens of collisions with infrastructure since 2021.

Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure.

Key Takeaways:

  • B.C. is proposing fines as high as as $100,000, as well as imprisonment up to 18 months for trucks that impact infrastructure. 
  • There have been 35 crashes that have occurred since late 2021 by over-height commercial vehicles. 
  • The BC Trucking Association has been consulted and supports the proposed increase in maximum penalties.

The Whole Story:

Drivers of commercial trucks involved in infrastructure crashes could face higher penalties after a series of overpass impacts have prompted B.C. officials to take action.  

The proposed changes to the Commercial Transport Act (CTA) will enable the courts to impose fines for as much as $100,000, as well as imprisonment up to 18 months upon conviction for violations. Provincial officials stated that infrastructure crashes pose a significant safety risk, having caused millions of dollars in provincial highway repairs, as well as lengthy highway closures and supply chain disruptions that impact all British Columbians.

“With these new penalties, we are taking the strongest action possible to keep our roads safe and to keep people, goods and services moving,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and Infrastructure. “This also sends a message to commercial truck drivers that they are responsible for the safe transportation of goods and services on our roads, and a lax attitude toward safety will not be tolerated.”

The legislative changes are in response to 35 crashes that have occurred since late 2021 by over-height commercial vehicles. Laws surrounding highway infrastructure crashes have not changed since the 1970s. Officials stressed that the overwhelming majority of responsible truck drivers and the trucking industry have urged tougher action on the small number of irresponsible operators that have caused these crashes.

The proposed maximum penalty for commercial transport violations is far above other Canadian provinces and territories, and falls in line with the maximum penalties applied to rail and dangerous-goods safety. The province noted that the BC Trucking Association has been consulted and supports the proposed increase in maximum penalties.

“The BC Trucking Association welcomes the legislative change by the Province to hold carriers accountable,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO, BC Trucking Association. “Imposing stricter penalties for carriers supports road safety and helps protect infrastructure, and ultimately enhances safety for everyone on our roads.”

This change represents the latest in a series of steps the ministry has taken recently to address the issue, including formalizing a progressive-enforcement framework and carrier-suspension policy that provides escalating consequences for carriers who commit repeat offences, including the possible loss of safety certificates, prohibiting their operation.

Fines were recently raised to the highest amount allowed under the current law for over-height vehicles, from $100 to the maximum allowable penalty of $500. A new requirement was also put in place (effective June 1, 2024) for in-cab warning devices to alert dump-style vehicle operators when the dump box is raised. Speed-limiter devices were also mandated, preventing heavy commercial vehicles from travelling more than 105 km/h on B.C. highways.

The province has taken up this issue with federal, provincial and territorial counterparts through the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety. The council is now working to address loopholes where carriers with problematic safety records prohibited in one jurisdiction may continue operating in a neighbouring jurisdiction. 

To support the commercial transport industry through this change, the ministry is developing training material that provides commercial drivers guidance on the proper measurement of vehicles and loads. The proper measurement of vehicle/load height is a component of the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 drivers.


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