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Frustration builds as ICBC keeps road tests parked over COVID-19 concerns

No timeline for resumption of ICBC road tests
No timeline for resumption of ICBC road tests

Some truck operators are getting worried about delays getting ICBC road tests up and running again with the busy summer season fast approaching.

Jonathan Dueling says he bought a new truck in February and was set to have a road test in April. The COVID-19 pandemic forced ICBC to cancel all tests, estimated to be more than 50,000, due to concerns over spread of the virus during the in-vehicle tests.

Dueling says the cancellation has his livelihood on life support.

“It can mean my small business will go under and collapse,” Dueling said. “A business I have worked blood and sweat and tears on could collapse.”

No pandemic discount from ICBC for drivers
No pandemic discount from ICBC for drivers

ICBC is expected to submit a plan to WorkSafeBC next week on how it can safely rescue road tests. But that doesn’t mean the tests will be operating immediately and the public insurer will have a substantial backlog to clear.

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Dueling says cherry season will be running in two weeks, and he can’t afford not to be operating his 18-wheeler then.

“I hope they will let me take the test very soon. And if I fail, because I am not the smartest guy, they can get me in for a second test within a week,” Dueling said.

“Because if I have to wait two weeks for a re-test I don’t have that. I would have had that if I had got in in April.”

ICBC suspended all road tests on March 17. Written exams resumed earlier this week.

Attorney General David Eby says there is no timeline on when ICBC could be resuming the road tests even with a plan in place. The big concern is getting access to enough personal protective equipment.

READ MORE: ICBC knowledge tests are returning but no road tests yet

“It’s entirely dependent of the personal protective equipment,” Eby said.

“We are talking about 20,000 tests a month. That is a lot of masks for both the person taking the test and the examiner.”

On Friday, Manitoba started resuming Class 1 commercial road tests for truck drivers.

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All drivers must provide their own mask, answer questions about their health and possible COVID-19 exposures, and sanitize all touch-points in their vehicle.

B.C. Liberal MLA Jas Johal says there is no reason B.C. can’t resume tests, suggesting the province borrow from Saskatchewan where tests have been going on for weeks.

“In Saskatchewan you have testers following drivers and communicating on Bluetooth. You can do this in a parking lot. There are ways to get around it,” Johal said.