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BC Truckers Demand Safe Driving Conditions
For detailed rally route, click here.
The West Coast Trucking Association representing many BC truck drivers demands the BC government take action to ensure safe roads. To voice their demand they are holding a truck rally in Surrey on Saturday, January 22.
Truckers report from their direct experience that road conditions are endangering their lives especially at night from black ice, snow buildup and treacherous potholes. The bad conditions have led to unnecessary delays and serious accidents. They constantly report the unsafe conditions to the government’s DriveBC website but are told they should email their concerns to the specific private highway maintenance contractor responsible for maintaining that section of road. This means that as drivers travel the thousands of kilometres of roads they have to know which one of the 28 private contractors is responsible for the particular stretch of road that needs immediate attention.
This is what happens when public infrastructure is privatized. The degree of the BC government’s social irresponsibility is way beyond the pale. Recently, when governments and municipalities south of the border were issuing red alerts and evacuation notices due to impending flooding and inundations, the BC government was bickering that infrastructure was a responsibility of municipal or other level of government and it was not its responsibility to alert people or order and organize evacuations.
Such a detached government response is not acceptable. This lack of concern has already shown itself to be a disaster such as in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec when a train exploded in the middle of the town and governments declared that both the train and the railway lines were privately owned and it is a matter of self-regulation. This is no way to operate a transportation system on which people depend for their safety as well as food and other necessities, enterprises require their orders to be delivered on time. Truckers need to be safe. Their driving conditions are a social responsibility, not a private matter.
With the rally on January 22, the drivers are stating clearly and loudly that if the government and its Transportation Ministry do not take concrete action immediately to change the situation and solve the problem of unsafe roads then truckers will have no choice but to refuse to drive until the roads are made safe.
(Workers’ Forum, posted January 19, 2022)