Burnaby RCMP nearly needed a new set of paper tickets to write on as a two-day traffic blitz nailed a long list of drivers.
Traffic enforcement officers were out Wednesday and Thursday on local roads conducting inspections that focused on commercial trucks.
Out of 131 vehicles inspected, 74 of them were found to be unsafe to be on the streets – that’s more than half. In all, a staggering 379 violations were observed. Many of the trucks were towed away.
According to RCMP Const. Kevin Connolly, more than half the trucks pulled over by police in the city on a regular basis aren’t fit to stay on the road, and the problem appears to be worse in Burnaby than in other Lower Mainland cities.
In 2020, 62% of vehicles inspected in Burnaby were taken out of service compared to 52% across the Lower Mainland.
Connolly has seen it all – drivers with learner’s licences operating big commercial vehicles, a truck towing a fume-filled trailer with uncapped jerry cans of gasoline sloshing around in it, a flatbed truck hauling a large piece of unsecured sheet metal ready to fly off around a corner, trucks with wobbly tires, trucks with unsecured cargo that could shift and flip the vehicle onto whoever happens to be beside it, trucks on steep hills (like Royal Oak Avenue and Cariboo Road) where they’re not supposed to be, truckers that keep getting caught on their cell phones, big trucks with air brakes that don’t work.
“There are times that I’ll be under there and I’ll ask them to hit the brake and the brakes don’t even activate, period; there is no movement in the brake pads, nothing,” Connolly said.
Connolly, a member of Burnaby RCMP’s traffic enforcement unit, has become the detachment’s resident expert in commercial vehicle safety since training to become a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspector in 2019.
He said he started methodically tracking statistics from his enforcement activities when he saw how little information there was about commercial vehicle safety in B.C. compared to the U.S.
“It became clear from the statistics I was obtaining that it was a concern, that there was very, very concerning numbers that we were seeing,” he said.
- With files from Cornelia Naylor