Hazard lights are important. When you’re stuck with a broken vehicle at the side of the road, you turn them on to warn other drivers.
You’re not supposed to be rolling around town with them on all the time because all of your other lights are broken.
That’s what Burnaby RCMP found with the grubby truck pictured above, which rolled off of Highway 1 with its hazard lights on.
Police stopped it and found no working brake lights, no working turn signals and no working headlights. Plus dangerous goods that were not secured properly.
Um, yeah, no. You need turn signals, headlights and brake lights to operate a vehicle safely – especially one carrying “dangerous goods.”
It’s just another recent story of commercial trucks being operated in a dangerous fashion.
Burnaby RCMP traffic officers were part of a recent five-day blitz of commercial vehicles.
In all, 109 vehicles were inspected with 67 of them taken out of service, 77 found to be speeding and a total of 274 tickets handed out.
Ridiculous numbers, yes, considering these vehicles are so big and can do so much damage if not operated correctly.
But by far the worst truck local officers found was an aging semi-truck and trailer with a full load of gravel, rocks and boulders.
The unit was stopped as part of a weeklong commercial vehicle enforcement blitz across the Lower Mainland.
The driver was handed a whopping 14 tickets for all of the things wrong with it.
Yes, 14 tickets for one vehicle.
A valve that’s supposed to protect the truck’s air brakes in the case of a trailer breakaway or severe air leak wasn’t working, an air line connected to the end-dump trailer was leaking because of a faulty seal, a tire on the trailer was “compromised,” the brake lights didn’t work, the truck’s steering mechanism was loose and there were problems with the unit’s licence plate and decals.
The trailer was also covered with loose rocks and debris waiting to rain down onto other vehicles’ windshields.
But you wouldn’t have known it from the driver’s pre-trip report, according to police.
That document said both the truck and trailer were in “perfect condition,” police said.
“It is unfortunate to see these types of violations,” said Burnaby RCMP Const. Kevin Connolly who inspected the vehicle. “Truck drivers know the importance of pre-trip inspections and safety on our roads.”
He said a truck and end-dump trailer can reach a combined weight of more than 50 tonnes.
This isn't some isolated incident. I've spoken with Connolly before and he's supplied some pretty terrifying numbers about just how many of these vehicles are operating illegally. It's an industry-wide problem that needs to be addressed before someone gets killed.
Commercial vehicle checks in 2020 saw an average of about 52% of the trucks checked being taken off the road, according to Connolly.
In Burnaby, that number was 62%.
The city’s location, right in the middle of the Lower Mainland likely has something to do with the disparity, according to Connolly.
“Most trucks have to pass through us, so we’re going to get all sorts of stuff coming from all different places,” he said.
- With additional reporting by Cornelia Naylor