FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Fort St. John resident is sounding the alarm over what they believe is a double standard in commercial vehicle inspection regulations that may cause safety concerns.
According to the resident, who has requested to remain anonymous, the Northern BC Truckers Association takes part in what is known in the industry as the “lick ‘n stick” program.
“They lick the sticker, put it on the truck, fill out the paperwork, charge you 125 bucks, and don’t do the inspection,” the resident alleges.
The resident says that they’ve seen this occur before.
“I watched a guy come in, sit in the cab during a duty inspection, and never left the cab. After he left, I had to go as requested by the company to adjust all the brakes on the rig.” the resident said.
“It’s only gonna take once where something gets missed, or lots of stuff gets missed, and there’s that one accident where a family member loses their life because of this.”
Dennis Felhauer with the Northern BC Truckers Association denies that the association participates in such a program.
“That is absolutely incorrect. We have ten government inspectors that work for us. The inspection criteria and everything are exactly the same. And we are monitored by CVSE (Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement). It’s not like we can just go and do whatever we want,” Felhauer said.
The association has had an agreement with the provincial government since 1980, which was established because, at the time, there was a shortage of inspection stations in the north.
The agreement allows the NBCTA to perform inspections in remote locations instead of being restricted to a shop.
The resident says they provide commercial inspections as part of their business and claims their company is losing clients to the NBCTA because of its agreement with the province.
The resident claims it allows the association to perform inspections faster and at a lower cost.
“I’m limited to my work. I have to be inside, on a concrete floor and have the designated tooling that the government requires me to have. Every year, I get audited on this tooling when I have to renew my license,” the resident said.
“If you are a part of the BC truckers association, you can do an inspection anywhere. You can do it remotely. You don’t need to have any tools,” he added.
Felhauer says that the CVSE still inspects NBCTA facilities and holds them to the same standard as other commercial inspection facilities.
“There’s no difference in our qualifications as far as inspectors and the inspection we do,” Felhauer added.
Energeticcity also reached out to the ministry of transportation, which says that designated inspection facilities and mobile inspections must adhere to the same standards.
“Safety is our top priority. Our ministry is committed to ensuring that all commercial trucks operating on our provincial highways meet all safety requirements,” the ministry said in a statement.
“CVSE officers patrol northern roads and highways daily, enforcing safe driving requirements for commercial vehicles, and they partner with police and other agencies on compliance and enforcement activities.”
The ministry adds that inspection facilities that conduct mechanical safety inspections are audited at a minimum every 24 months.
The CVSE is currently reviewing the Vehicle Inspection Program, including Motor Vehicle Act Regulation Division 25 (vehicle inspection and maintenance), according to the ministry.