Logging Trucks Unfairly Targeted: Forestry Advocates

Logging-MAIN

A logging truck about to leave the log sort on Loggers Lane. Forestry advocates say overzealous vehicle inspectors have cost logging companies thousands of dollars in the last one month.
Pic: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Nov. 22, 2013

Squamish forestry advocates and trucking operators say vehicle inspectors have been unfairly targeting logging trucks following an accident in Whistler that killed a West Vancouver man.

On Oct. 19, Hugh Craig Roberts, a 65-year-old West Vancouver man died when he was crushed by the logging truck load that spilled on to the road.

“Some of these trucks sat there for 6 to 8 hours just waiting for their turn to be inspected.” Alan Barr.

Alan Barr, who a log sort operator, said the provincial inspectors have been so overzealous in their inspections they have cost his and other businesses thousands of dollar.

Barr said instead of randomly stopping trucks, officials line them up, forcing the trucks to be stuck on the side of the highway for hours.

“Some of these trucks sat there for 6 to 8 hours just waiting for their turn to be inspected,” Barr said.

Recently, employees at his Site B operations had to sit around doing nothing as they waited for trucks that were held up by commercial vehicle inspectors.

“I still have to pay everyone and they can’t go home until the work is done,” Barr said.

An equally frustrated John Lowe of Squamish Mills said trucks are being stopped for hours for minor maintenance issues.

In one instance, Lowe said the truck driver was ordered to replace a minor part before the truck could move from the road.

 “To say that people should report on logging trucks, that is enticing confrontation, not cooperation.” John Lowe

Lowe said the driver had to take the entire load off before he could replace that one part to satisfy the inspector, a process that took few hours.

In another incident, Lowe claimed the driver was given a ticket for a muddy number plate when no other infraction could be found.

Lowe was also critical of Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden who was creating a fear of logging trucks in the mind of people, he said.

In an interview with the CBC, Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said officials have discussed a ban on logging trucks during peak hours in the past. She said more inspections are needed.

“We are going to check with them and see if we can do more of that in light of what happened,” she told CBC.

Lowe said the Whistler mayor ‘needs to get off her high horse.’

 “To say that people should report on logging trucks, that is enticing confrontation, not cooperation,” he said.

A Ministry of Transportation spokesperson, Adam Roberts, said the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) staff targeted 108 trucks in the last one year across the province.

Of these, he said, 44 were required to make repairs, better secure their loads or take other actions.

He said CVSE can’t provide specific corridor wide information. 

Roberts said CVSE officers use their expertise to determine which vehicles require a closer look, which is generally accomplished through a quick visual inspection.

 Investigators have yet to determine the exact cause of the fatal Whistler accident, but Barr said his understanding is that speed wasn’t a factor.

From what he was told by drivers, the bolts that hold the scale pad down to the trailer might have failed.

There were six fatalities in the logging truck industry in the first 30 weeks of 2013, according to Rumblings, a BC Forest Safety Council publication.

The logging industry is committed to safety and welcomes scrutiny, but not derision and harassment, said John Lowe.

“We have worked a lot towards logging truck safety and will continue to do so.”

Comments

  1. MichaelL65 says:

    Back in the 1990’s I lived in Northern Alberta, along HWY 43, the main route leading to the Alaska Highway. I have seen firsthand the devastation caused by heavy trucks that experience mechanical failure. At one point, well over 50% of all heavy trucks puled over for inspection failed such inspections. The reasons given ranged from the cost of having the vehicle off the road and cost of repairs.
    This comment in partuicular concerned me: “An equally frustrated John Lowe of Squamish Mills said trucks are being stopped for hours for minor maintenance issues.”
    How often do these so called “minor maintenance issues” lead to majt catastrophic failures? Secondly, when would the owner/operators get these minr issues fixed if they were not forced to? Granted, I do not think it is fair to single out the Logging industry – ALL heavy trucks need to be regularly inspected. Yes, this will lead to mre delays, and cost to the owner/perators, but, I think the price is more than worth it if it saves one life and holds the owners of these vehicles accountable.

  2. heather gee says:

    QUOTE: “six fatalities in the logging truck industry in the first 30 weeks of 2013,” indicates that the vehicle inspectors were in fact not doing sufficient or regular checking of logging vehicles. It appears that the logging industry is more concerned about money than emphasizing the safety of their drivers and the general public.

  3. Dave says:

    If there are people killed by drunk drivers in a neighbourhood, should the police not increase their checks?
    If there is an upsurge of speeding on a particular stretch should their be no increase in surveillance?
    If the highway is being damaged by overloaded vehicles , should there be no increase in load checks?….Come on guys, stop whining and clean up your act; your profit margin is not sacrosanct!

  4. David Lassmann says:

    Logging trucks do sometimes have accidents. I can recall seeing, circa 1960, a load of logs on the ground alongside Cleveland Avenue just north of Pemberton Avenue. Absolutely the authorities should kept the log trucking industry in line, but they should do it in a way that does not interfere with normal operations. Being held up for a 10 minute inspection is one thing, being held up for the better part of a day is something else!

  5. Trevor Mils says:

    I say we go back to trains. I am sure that behind the drywall in the Mayor of Whistler’s house is lumber hauled by logging truck and later by highway truck. Trains are not as flexible as logging trucks and you do more damage to nature putting them in but this way you do not have the trucks on the highway. In the old days there were many sawmills between Squamish and Lillooet and the railway served them all. People were employed and the timber came out of the bush. Most 2X4 built houses only last 80 to 100 years and then they get torn down and new ones built. The logging industry is not going to go away because if we take the trucks off the road as it is a renewal resource that we will always need. We will just figure another way to get the timber out.

  6. Singh says:

    More Safety checks on all commercial vehicles need to be done more lives can not be lost.