The number of collisions where semi-trailer trucks fail to clear overpasses shows the need for better training, said David Earle, the president and CEO of the Langley-based B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA).
Earle was reacting to a pair of incidents where the Glover Road overpass on Hwy. 1 through Langley was hit twice in less than 14 hours, once on Monday afternoon and again on Tuesday morning.
There was no serious damage or injuries reported in either accident, but eastbound traffic was backed up for several hours on Tuesday while crews worked to remove a damaged cargo container that was knocked off a truck in the collision.
Earle noted the Langley incidents are only the latest where trucks have have hit overpasses.
In South Surrey, when an overheight vehicle hit the 152 Street overpass on Hwy. 99 late last year, the crossing was restricted to southbound traffic only for three months – causing frustration for commuters and area businesses alike.
Highway 99 traffic was also limited to northbound traffic while repairs were being done.
In West Vancouver last summer, two lanes of Taylor Way were closed after a crane truck hit an overpass at the Park Royal Shopping Centre.
— West Vancouver PD (@WestVanPolice) June 20, 2017
There have been several other incidents involving vehicles hitting overpasses in Langley as well.
People have asked him why a truck driver wouldn’t know how tall their vehicle was, Earle said.
“It’s not intuitive,” Earle said.
“You have to be trained how to figure it out.”
Earle said the problem is, some driver training schools are teaching people just enough to pass the test to operate a large rig.
“There are no mandatory entry-level standards (for training),” Earle said.
“There’s something we have to do better.”
Passing the test isn’t enough, Earle said, because it doesn’t require drivers to master essential skills.
While some schools do a good job of producing well-trained drivers, others do not, and the result is some heavy truck operators are ill-prepared for anything other than ideal driving conditions, Earle said.
The good news is the provincial government and ICBC are looking to improve training standards.
“They’re (the province) engaged in the issue, ICBC is engaged in the issue,” Earle said.
“We are very optimistic (something will be done).”
The BCTA is a non-profit association founded in 1913 to advance the interests of British Columbia motor carriers.
Members operate about 14,000 vehicles, employing over 26,000 people and generate an estimated $2 billion a year in revenues.
They include for-hire and private carriers hauling every kind of freight including manufactured goods, bulk products, household goods and general freight.
The association also represents motor coach, courier, and waste management companies and suppliers.