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: