The Boss Won't Fix It!

MechanicIt is not uncommon for police to stop a defective vehicle and be told "The boss said drive it." The employee is at a disadvantage, he has to drive to keep his job but he is also liable for driving the defective vehicle. While the employee cannot be absolved for the deficiencies, the boss is equally responsible in law.

The Motor Vehicle Act makes the registered owner a party to the offence committed by the employee, servant, agent or worker, or anyone entrusted by him with the possession of the vehicle when the offence is related to equipment or maintenance. This makes the employer personally liable to the same penalty as the driver. It does not remove the responsibility of the driver if action is taken by police against the owner for the violation.

Certain commercial vehicles are required to make pre- and post-trip inspections on a daily basis. The employee doing the inspection must record defects in the trip inspection report, regardless of the fact that they might feel it does no good. Carrier safety audits could be triggered by maintenance concerns and the result of the audit could mean the loss of the company's safety certificate, effectively ending it's ability to operate vehicles on the highway.

It is good practice for the rest of us to do a critical item inspection before we set out on our daily drive. The time spent is minimal and the gain in safety is certainly worthwhile.

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Who you gonna call?

The ICBC publication 'Driving Commercial Vehicles' may be obtained at no charge from any Driver Services Centre.  It's also available for download, here.  At more than 270 pages, you probably won't want to print the darn thing from your computer, though.

I mention this because in Chapter 13 there's a very useful reference section.

In this section you'll find website and/or phone numbers that will help you contact various regulatory agencies, both Federal and Provincial, including Commercial Vehicle Safety & Enforcement; they  even provide a 24/7 Violation Report number available province wide at 1-888-559-9688.

It would be my guess that this regulatory agency would be far more interested in going after companies that fail to maintain their vehicles safely, than drivers who feel obligated to drive them - perhaps at the cost of their job, should they refuse.  If I was in that position, the first thing I would do is ask for their assistance (while asking to remain anonymous) in bringing the company and their vehicles into compliance with the existing regulations; there's nothing like having vehicles removed from service and some heavy duty fines assessed, to encourage unsafe owners to change their ways.

 

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