The ability of commercial truck drivers to do their job safely has been in the news in the wake of last spring’s crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. As a result, there’s been a push to ensure drivers are sufficiently trained, with both industry and government working to put policies in place to make sure that happens.
But the person behind the steering wheel isn’t the only safety consideration with respect to commercial trucks that ply the nation’s roadways. The vehicles themselves must be safe — and that isn’t always the case, according to the annual three-day commercial vehicle inspection held in Lethbridge this week.
According to the story in Thursday’s Herald, 81 per cent of the 50-some vehicles inspected on Tuesday, Aug. 14 failed the checkup. About 20 per cent of those that failed required attention and the remainder were taken out of service. That was worse than the usual inspection rate of one-third of vehicles being taken off the road, one-third given a day to fix issues that were identified, and one-third receiving a pass.
That’s a sobering thought. Considering the number of commercial vehicles regularly travelling the roads, the number of vehicles containing potential safety issues is both eye-opening and scary.
Police say cargo securement is one of the most common issues they find during commercial vehicle inspections, and issues with brakes are another problem often encountered. As indicated in Thursday’s story, “On the highway, if a load isn’t properly secured, or the brakes suddenly go, a collision with a passenger vehicle can lead to significant damage, injury or death.”
It’s with good reason that the law requires that vehicle safety equipment is properly maintained in good working condition. Failure to do so opens the door to something going wrong that could result in a crash causing injury or worse.
Reputable companies have policies in place to ensure their transport vehicles are maintained to meet proper safety standards, and responsible drivers do their part to hold to those standards. Vehicle inspections of the sort carried out this week are another part of the safety system to help keep our roadways as safe as they can be.
But, of course, inspections are only able to check some of the commercial vehicles on the roads, so it’s important for those in the trucking industry to be diligent about maintaining vehicle safety standards.
Failure to do so puts all of us who travel the roadways potentially at risk.