Two veteran Okanagan truck drivers are calling for better safety education for inexperienced truck operators in the wake of two shocking close calls caught on dash cam video.
Forty-three-year truck driving veteran Ray Barry of West Kelowna called it “stupidity” after a semi was caught on camera attempting to pass a slower-moving tractor-trailer on Highway 33 outside of Kelowna on Thursday, barrelling towards oncoming traffic, forcing a driver onto the shoulder.
“I think it’s mainly inexperience. People that are wanting to go too fast for the road conditions. Young drivers that don’t really have the experience,” Barry said.
It’s the second incredibly close call in just two days this week on interior highways caught on dash cam.
Footage captured on the Trans-Canada highway in the Shuswap area showed a semi truck passing another truck directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle with a family of four inside.
Meeting schedule demands can put a lot of pressure on long-haul truckers, according to 40-year veteran and driving instructor Joe Frank.
“A lot of them are paid by the mile so if you don’t make the miles you don’t make the money … even chaining up or waiting in an accident or anything like that is not paid time,” Frank said.
Both truckers agreed better safety education is warranted.
“The new guys are coming in, they don’t have any experience, and they’re put on a B-train hauling big loads and have to learn how to do it,” Barry said.
“It somehow should become a trade, so longer time behind the wheel before they get out there on their own,” added Frank.
A Ministry of Transportation spokesperson said despite the recent close calls, accidents on B.C. highways involving commercial vehicles are down 23 per cent since 2005.
The government also said the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch targets 25,000 vehicles per year to ensure drivers are complying with safety regulations