A pilot project on radio communication protocols aims to improve safety and reduce collisions on resource roads, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

The goal of the project is to improve road user safety through standardized radio call procedures for forest service roads. A block of dedicated resource road radio channels along with standardized call procedures and road signage is being piloted on Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and one road system in the Tumbler Ridge area.

Previously truckers needed to reprogram their radios to gain access to local radio channels as they moved around to different work locations. In the pilot areas, only a single set of radio channels is being used on forest service roads. New communications signs posted on the pilot roads indicate which radio channel to call, call frequency, direction being travelled and vehicle type.

The new radio procedures were implemented earlier this year and the findings from the pilot projects will be evaluated this fall prior to considering provincewide implementation. The protocol, radio channels and signs were developed by the radio communications working group, initially formed in 2006, with representatives from the Ministry of Forests and Range, BC Timber Sales, Industry Canada, BC Forest Safety Council/Truck Safe and FPInnovations.

The working group held numerous meetings with forest licensees and truck drivers in developing the protocol.