More than a week after the fatal logging truck crash on Highway 99 at Nordic Drive, calls for greater scrutiny of logging trucks have produced a number of fines and at least one driver calling foul.
Logging truck operator Wayne Jung was pulled over twice in the past week. Jung said he was flagged by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) unit and fined for not having his brakes set properly. He said his employer intends to dispute the fine of more than $400 because he claims the inspectors didn't properly check his brakes.
On Monday he was pulled over a second time by the RCMP for an inspection that Jung claims took 90 minutes and involved an RCMP member climbing to the top of the load with a tape measure. According to Jung, the RCMP member who pulled him over couldn't measure the height of the load on his own so another member was called in to help. Jung left the 90-minute inspection with a $109 fine for having an obscured license plate. He said he plans to fight that ticket as well.
Sgt. Rob Knapton of the Whistler RCMP disputes the length of time it took to conduct the inspection. He said it lasted about 45 minutes and the truck stop was prompted by a complaint about the height of the logs on the truck from a member of the public.
"I have lost three days' wages," Jung said of his two encounters with authorities.
Jung estimated his wage losses due to the roadside inspections at $1,400. He said he understands the CVSE inspection but believes the second stop handled by the RCMP should have taken much less time.
Maryanne Arcand with the Trucking Safety Council of BC said the safety inspections are required and she has no issue with stepped up enforcement and awareness of logging truck issues on Highway 99.
Arcand said a thorough logging truck inspection should take about 40 minutes and measuring for legal log height doesn't need to be complicated.
"A load of logs must not be any more than one and a half logs higher than the end of the stake," said Arcand. "The stakes are those upright bars."
Measuring load weights is more complex. Arcand said there are 32 different trailer configurations with different rules for the various types of trailer.
According to Arcand, any enforcement measures being taken on Highway 99 should be expected as the CVSE and the RCMP are simply doing their job.
"Fair doesn't come into it," said Arcand. "It's just political."
She noted that logging truck drivers are the most highly regulated of all professional drivers so calls for more regulations are pointless.
"There's no more regulation you can put on these guys," she said. "A log trucker has seven sets of regulations and five enforcement agencies on him, so more than the average worker in any given workplace."
Arcand said it's important for regulators to enforce the rules, and the drivers she represents need to know the regulations, then follow them.
Last week, United Steelworkers Union director Steve Hunt renewed calls by his union for a multi-stakeholder review of forest industry training and safety issues. Brad West, the union's communications manager, said the provincial government has not responded to the union.
Meanwhile, Jung and the other logging truck drivers currently hauling logs from Pemberton to Squamish continue to make two trips a day.
"It's pure harassment at this point," said Jung of his experience last week.
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