Every country in the world has laws. Canada is no different, we have our laws and they are for the well-being of not only ourselves but those around us. In the trucking industry we have laws to govern the way we do business. Last October on one of the highways in British Columbia the Commercial Vehicle Inspectors set up a roadside check point. When I was listening to the 6’oclock news on TV the news caster announced that 16 commercial vehicles were put out of service for various reasons. For the average person, that would scare them thinking there had been 16 trucks out there that were defective and they could cause an accident. What they didn’t tell you was how many trucks were inspected, what the time frame was and why were they put out of service. (It could be as simple as clearance lights being burnt out.) Also were there 17 trucks inspected in a 2 hour period and 16 of them were defective? Or was it 117 trucks inspected in a period of 3 days and 16 were defective? That is a big difference. When the drivers were questioned by the inspectors, I wonder how many “I did not know” answers they got. It makes you wonder if a pre-trip was even performed by some of them.
The second part of the news cast got me angry. There were 4
drivers that did not have proper licencing. What kind of a company, would put a
truck on the highway with a driver that did not have a qualified driver's
licence? If the owner comes up with “I did not know” for an answer he should
not be in the trucking business. If he had disregarded the law thinking he
could get away with it he should be put out of business and never allowed back
into the industry in any capacity. No going across the street and starting up
another company or amalgamating with another company. I know a person that owns
two trucking companies, one is the “clean” company and the other is the “dirty”
company. The “clean” company hauls just enough freight to stay alive and have a
good safety record. The “dirty” company hauls 95% of the freight. If the
“dirty” company gets closed down the “clean” company takes over and it’s
business as usual. He calls it good business practice. There is always someone
who will bend the rules but to my way of thinking you either obey the rules or
not – there is no bending.
A long time ago (late 1980’s) the transport industry was
deregulated and since then the industry has gone downhill as far as maintenance
and class of drivers is concerned. Every time it slipped farther down the hill
the government put in new laws. They started putting on more roadside
inspections and they discovered so many more infractions that they implemented
the 6 month vehicle inspection by a certified repair facility. Everyone knows
there was cheating going on – half price, no inspection and you got your
It seems that every time we cut corners it eventually
catches up with us and the government steps in to try and cure the problem. We
can’t blame the government for all these regulations – it is fly by night
companies and dishonest individuals who are to blame. It’s a shame that the
companies that break the law and the companies that comply, both have to bear
the burden and the extra expense.
There is an old saying – it only takes one bad apple in the
barrel to ruin the whole barrel. It’s the same in the trucking industry – we
have to get rid of the bad operators.
P.S. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we set out to