A commuter asked "I would really like to see the article written about what to do when we see a commercial transport vehicle that is driving in an unsafe manner. You gave us a phone number to call that specifically relates to tractor trailers, and who to call when we witness a driving infraction.I see it on a regular basis and most of the times the trucks are unmarked."
I understand what this person feels as I had a recent encounter with a tractor pulling a van trailer at the south end of the Nanaimo Bypass last Friday afternoon. I was in the right lane keeping to the speed limit and was followed at a frighteningly close distance. Why the driver felt comfortable with this or did not pass me I cannot understand.
Commercial Transport Company Information
After I changed to the left lane the truck passed by me and I could read the company name, TRANSport, off of the driver's door. Unfortunately, that's all I was able to read as I had to pay attention to where I was going.
Semi Trailer Licence Plate Information
Recording the trailer licence plate might help, but it frequently belongs to another company or is leased, leaving no simple trail back to the commercial driver.
Depending on how threatened you feel by the encounter, you have a number of options ranging from calling 911 to shrugging your shoulders and carrying on.
Obviously, a continuing danger should be reported immediately by calling 911 and providing as much information as possible.
Making a Complaint After the Fact
If this is not the case, there are other options to initiate enforcement action. I've outlined the process of reporting bad drivers to police in the article Q&A - Making a Driving Complaint to Police.
You may also report commercial transport safety violations to Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) by telephone: 1-888-775-8785. CVSE personnel are provincial police officers charged specifically with commercial transport enforcement.
Are You Willing to be a Witness?
To be effective, you will have to be ready to act as a witness in court to support charges against the driver. In cases where you are unwilling to do this, the information is passed on to the driver or company for action as they see fit. Repetitive complaints without charges do not result in any public sanctions being taken to halt the improper behaviour.
Reputable Truckers Share Your Concerns
The trucking community shares your concern. The majority of the drivers don't care to be labelled as dangerous because of the actions of a few. They also point out that the majority of collisions between heavy trucks and light vehicles are the fault of the light vehicle driver. This is difficult to corroborate in BC as ICBC does not publish determination of fault in their annual collision statistics report.
Reputable Companies do Too
Reputable commercial transport companies share your concerns and will act on valid complaints themselves. If you choose not to report to law enforcement you can search the company name and provide the circumstances to them. If your internet search is not successful, the BC Trucking Association's Web Site and local weigh scales can be a good source of knowledge.
Heavy trucks intimidate other traffic through sheer size. I wonder if we tolerate identical behaviour from drivers of smaller vehicles because we see it more often and don't feel as threatened by it. Food for thought...
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I have travelled the Island Highway and the Nanaimo Parkway and many times heavy trucks (over 10,000kg) going over the speed limit.
Sometimes 15-20 km over.
I am not against the heavy trucks, its obviously the drivers. We need more monitoring of these trucks. Well, they claim time is money. BS.
A little time longer on the haul is better insurance. 5, 10 or 15 minutes between their point A’s and point B’s of truck destinations and stops
will not effect companies financially.
This week I read that a commercial driver was pulled over for impaired driving, in your area.Reported by drivers. No surprise. Professional driver are human -have issues, addictions . But they should be accountable to those who hire them .Someone need to be responsible and care about their employees.Humboldt, Saskatchewan comes to mind. After the the tragedy ,there is punishment. Too late.
What is the answer? We have lots of freedom as drivers -it is a free society which is mostly good. A few are irresponsible.With dash cameras it is possible that the drivers will police themselves.
Everyone makes mistakes.Police can’t be everywhere.Perhaps technology and self policing may be the way of the future. Privacy has disappeared.There may be an upside, for road safety.Dash cams and cell phones.