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'A moving bomb' – unsafe commercial vehicles pulled off Burnaby streets

Three days of inspections see 131 of 238 trucks taken out of service for violations and defects

“DO your f^$*#in pre-trip”

That was one exasperated Twitter post in response to a commercial vehicle enforcement blitz in Burnaby this week that ended in more than half the trucks checked being taken off the road for serious violations and defects.

Most of those issues would have been caught if drivers had simply completed their required pre-trip vehicle inspections before hitting the road, according to Const. Kevin Connolly with Burnaby RCMP’s traffic enforcement unit.

(He’s not the one who wrote the tweet; that was a comment on an RCMP Twitter post about the blitz.)

'A moving bomb'

In all, officers inspected 238 vehicles over three days and pulled 131 from the road for a total of 374 violations and 216 defects.

Three of the trucks taken out of service were found to have at least one tire no longer attached to the rim.

“They had completely gone flat and fallen off and were just wobbling,” Connolly said.

Among a number of sketchy dangerous goods violations caught by officers was one enclosed trailer reeking of gasoline.

When officers opened the trailer, it was filled with fumes, and they found four large jerry cans of gasoline all with their caps open, according to Connolly.

“Essentially the trailer was a moving bomb,” he said. “Any spark would have just ignited those fumes, and it would have been an awful thing on the road.”

Officers also caught a number of drivers who didn’t have proper licences to operate the trucks they were driving.

And it’s not just a matter of paperwork either; Connolly said he regularly encounters commercial truck drivers who lack the necessary training to operate their vehicles safely.

“Too often, I will find these things wrong and I’ll start pointing them out, and all I see is a driver who’s wide-eyed, who has no idea what I’m talking about,” he said.

'A little worse'

Connolly started in commercial vehicle enforcement at the beginning of 2019, and he says things have been “getting a little worse” through the pandemic.

Enforcement around the Lower Mainland last year saw an average of 52% of the trucks checked being taken off the road.

In Burnaby, that number was 62%.

The disparity could be the result of more experienced inspectors or tracking of stats in Burnaby, according to Connolly, but he says it’s also likely the result of the city being right in the middle of the Lower Mainland.

“Most trucks have to pass through us, so we’re going to get all sorts of stuff coming from all different places,” he said.

That’s why Connolly and the Burnaby RCMP have been pressing for more full-time involvement from agencies around the region.

“Things I’m catching here could be caught in Abbotsford or in Delta or these other places,” he said. 

The good news is that cooperation between cities is growing.

This week’s enforcement saw participation from agencies around the Lower Mainland, including Port Moody, Delta, Abbotsford, West Vancouver, Coquitlam and Surrey, and officers from Burnaby also take part in enforcements in those cities.

Connolly hopes constant enforcement across the region will thwart careless and negligent drivers who he says are increasingly taking to platforms like Facebook and WeChat to inform each other of enforcement check stops.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com

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