More commercial trucks, fewer safety inspectors a dangerous mix: BCGEU

BCGEU - More commercial trucks, fewer safety inspectors (IMAGE)

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union, which represents BC's commercial vehicle inspectors, is launching a campaign to raise public awareness about the unsafe conditions created by a shortage of vehicle safety inspectors across the province. The campaign uses billboards, radio and bus ads to point out that 1-in4 vehicle inspector positions remained vacant over the past decade, while heavy truck traffic increased almost 50 per cent in that time. (CNW Group/B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union)

VANCOUVER, May 14, 2012 /CNW/ – A shortage of commercial vehicle inspectors and an almost 50 per cent increase in heavy truck traffic over the last decade has made B.C.’s public roads less safe, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) claimed today.

The union released government data it says shows a steady decline in safety standards on B.C. roads since the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) branch was brought back into government service from ICBC in 2003.

Since then, more than 1-in-4 commercial vehicle inspector jobs have gone unfilled and heavy commercial vehicle traffic has gone up by almost half, while weigh scales are closed and crashes continue to rise.

“B.C.’s commercial vehicle inspector corps is being stretched to the breaking point,” says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. “They’re being asked to deal with one and a half times the volume of truck traffic with only 3 quarters the number of inspectors as a decade ago.”

The union also claims that the B.C. government fails to provide a complete picture of vehicle safety in the province – by only reporting the number of vehicles taken out-of-service (22.6 per cent) during the annual 72-hour June Road Check Inspection. If ticketed violations were included, the actual ‘fail’ rate would be much higher.

“Data gathered year-round by commercial vehicle inspectors show a combined out-of-service and violation fail rate of more than 70 per cent,” says Byron Goerz, chair of the BCGEU component that represents CVSE inspectors. “We can and should do more to keep B.C. roads safe.”

The BCGEU represents 187 CVSE Inspectors, working in portable units and at weigh scales. The inspectors are responsible for inspecting heavy commercial vehicles over 5,000 kg, and oversee private licensed inspection facilities across the province.

For more detailed information, please check the CVSE RoadSafe web site at:

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When is a good day to NOT be driving?

Seven Deadly Driving Days Have High Number of Collisions and Fatalities

(Seattle, WA April 18, 2012) Seattle attorney Chris Davis and his research team at Davis Law Group have identified the seven deadly driving days for traffic collisions and fatalities.

In recent years, traffic safety experts have begun investigating what causes particular days of the year to be more dangerous for driving than others. Days that are popular for celebration, and therefore lead to increased alcohol consumption, are consistently at the top of the list.

A recent study led by Donald Redelmeier, a scientist at the University of Toronto, revealed that Tax Day can now be added to the list of most dangerous days for driving in the United States.

The results of the study, which looked at traffic accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, revealed that there were 6,783 fatal traffic accidents on Tax Day over the past 30 years. On average, 226 people are killed each year in traffic accidents on the day of the filing deadline.

“In general, specific days of the year that cause more stress for the American people are going to increase their risk of being involved in a fatal car accident,” says attorney Chris Davis of the Davis Law Group in Seattle. “When people are stressed, their attention tends to be focused on things other than driving, which makes them more dangerous behind the wheel.”

Despite a significant increase in electronic tax filings over recent years, the study shows that the option to file online has little to no effect on the spike of fatal accidents. In fact, there have been even more accidents during the decades in which electronic filing was available.

The seven days associated with higher rates of traffic collisions and fatalities include:

  • Tax Day Accidents: Approximately 13 more people die in traffic accidents each year on the day of the national tax deadline than on a typical day.
  • Super Bowl Sunday Accidents: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 50 percent of all traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are DUI-related.
  • Independence Day Accidents: The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that there is an approximate eight percent increase in number of traffic deaths on Independence Day.
  • Daylight Savings Accidents: A University of British Columbia (UBC) study found that people, on average, get approximately 40 minutes less sleep the night before Daylight Savings. This leads to decreased attention on the roads and increased risk of becoming distracted.
  • Thanksgiving Day Accidents: 502 people died in car accidents on Thanksgiving Day in 2008 – approximately 400 more traffic fatalities than on an average day.
  • Labor Day Accidents: There were 487 traffic fatalities in the U.S. on Labor Day in 2008.
  • New Year’s Eve/Day Accidents: Holiday parties lead to increased alcohol consumption, as these are some of the most popular days for consuming alcohol in the United States. Approximately 50 percent of all traffic fatalities on New Year’s are alcohol-related.

In addition to the seven individual days listed above, drivers should also be extremely cautious during the summertime; the days from Memorial Day to Labour Day are known as the ‘100 Deadly Days of Summer’ because of the significant increase in traffic accident fatalities during that span.

“Unfortunately, even if you are attentive behind the wheel there are other drivers out there who are not,” Davis adds. “It is important for drivers to be aware of the fact that certain days really are more dangerous for driving.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says that from 2005 to 2009, more than 7,300 youths between the ages of 13 to 19 were killed in traffic crashes during the ‘100 Deadly Days.’ Experts attribute this to the fact that more young people are actively driving on the roadways, adding that the summer months typically lead to increases in alcohol consumption and driver distraction.