It’s time to deal with all the questions in the DriveSmartBC inbox that have not prompted an article of their own. Here are 10 of them, one of which initially stumped me too. I guess that goes to show that no matter how long you have been a licensed driver, there is still something that you can learn!
Michelle would like to remind drivers that there is a good reason that they must not park in front of crosswalks. She says that it should be obvious that children are short and can easily be hidden behind a parked vehicle where approaching drivers cannot see them. If we educate drivers about the 6 meter distance, they will understand and stop parking too close.
Dax wants road users to make way for ambulances that display flashing red and white lights but are not using their sirens. While the law does not require it, this is another case where the minor inconvenience involved will benefit the people in need of medical assistance. Why not yield?
Jeff wonders about a vehicle with Texas licence plates that is regularly parked on his residential street for the past 2 years. Should he report it to the police? The police do enforce the Customs Act and may be interested but I think that I would start with the Canadian Border Services Agency instead. Their Border Watch Line is interested in any suspicious cross border activities.
Clive wants to know if he can pull the sidecar of his motorcycle rather than attaching it to run along side. A sidecar is specifically exempt from being called a trailer and requiring a separate licence plate and insurance. If you pull it behind it is no longer a sidecar and would be considered to be a trailer.
Paul’s wife is undergoing chemotherapy and he wants to keep his outside contacts to a minimum to protect her. His B.C. driver’s licence is expiring and he wonders if he can just use his Mexican driver’s licence instead of going to the driver service center to renew. If Paul is ordinarily resident in B.C. he must have a B.C. driver’s licence. When he applies for it, he is required to surrender any driver’s licence that he holds from another jurisdiction.
Dave was messing around with the guages on his ‘Vette and failed to note that he had changed his speedometer to read in mph instead of km/h. You guessed it, he was ticketed for driving at 159 km/h and the ‘Vette was impounded. He wanted to know if he explained the inadvertent change to the traffic court justice, could he have the excessive speed charge set aside? Sorry Dave…
Melody was riding in a group of 4 motorcycles. If they all stopped side by side at the stop line in one lane, could they all leave the stop sign at the same time when it was safe to go? In B.C. it is not legal to operate more than two motorcycles side by side in a lane unless they are passing, so there should never be 4 motorcycles side by side in the same lane at a stop sign.
Will raised a concern that taught me something. He showed a picture of a highway marked with a sign that said No Lane Change for the Next 2 Kilometers yet the roadway was marked with a single broken white line. The direction on the sign overrides the permission indicated by the broken line.
Lisa literally ran afoul of a low mounted bicycle carrier on the rear of a pickup truck while trying to enter the parking space behind it. She did not think she should be found at fault for the collision because the carrier was sticking back into the parking space that she wanted to use. The carrier was there to be seen. If your vehicle does not fit in the space, you will have to find another space.
Curt wants to know if a passenger can be charged for using a mobile device while in a moving vehicle. Our distracted driving rules only apply to the driver so the passenger need only worry if the mobile device somehow interfered with the driver. Even then I’ve investigated a collision where the passenger yanked the steering wheel causing the driver to lose control and the Crown refused to proceed with charges.
Do you have a question that you would like answered? Send me an e-mail and I’ll add it to the queue.
Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive. Police will be setting up CounterAttack roadchecks across the province while taking necessary pandemic-related safety precautions to get impaired drivers off our roads.
With many restaurants and pubs reopening and Canada Day this week, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if your activities involve alcohol.
Every year, on average, 68 people are killed as a result of impaired driving, with 40 per cent of those deaths happening in the summer.*
During the pandemic, alcohol consumption increased as more people were drinking at home. To encourage physical distancing and outdoor socialization, some municipalities are allowing alcohol consumption in parks and at beaches. Whether you’re drinking at home or out with friends, please be responsible and don’t drive.
While much progress has been made, impaired driving remains the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and in the top three contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.
If you’re hosting a celebration this summer (remember to keep it within Provincial Health Officer guidelines) and plan to serve alcohol, get an ICBC special event permit kit for free on icbc.com. It’s also available when you apply for an event liquor permit at BCLiquorStores.com. The kits include items to encourage designated drivers to stay sober and for guests to find a safe ride home.
ICBC supports two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.
Bowinn Ma, MLA North Vancouver-Lonsdale
“We’ve made significant progress in making our streets safer from impaired driving over the past forty years, but too many people are still losing their lives. CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs, and make our roads safer for British Columbians.”
Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“Summer is here and so are Summer CounterAttack campaigns, so more police will be on B.C. roads checking for impaired drivers. If your plan includes consuming alcohol or cannabis, plan ahead: get a ride home with a friend, hail a taxi, or take the bus. There is no excuse – including COVID-19 – for driving under the influence, and our priority is to prevent and catch drivers who put themselves and their community in danger. Injuries and deaths from impaired driving are completely preventable, and we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.”
Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC President & CEO
“When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and drive smart. If you plan to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
On average, 16 people are killed and 830 injured in 1,500 impaired driving related crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.
On average, 11 people are killed and 320 injured in 600 impaired driving related crashes on Vancouver Island every year.
On average, 22 people are killed and 390 injured in 660 impaired driving related crashes in the Southern Interior every year.
On average, 20 people are killed and 190 injured in 310 impaired driving related crashes in North Central B.C. every year.
Canada Day statistics**:
Each year on Canada Day, one person is killed and 190 injured in 710 crashes in B.C.
Each year 130 people are injured in 430 crashes in the Lower Mainland on Canada Day.
Each year 24 people are injured in 110 crashes on Vancouver Island on Canada Day.
Each year 24 people are injured in 120 crashes in the Southern Interior on Canada Day.
Each year seven people are injured in 42 crashes in the North Central region on Canada Day.
Lower Mainland media are invited to attend evening CounterAttack roadchecks this weekend in Vancouver. Media can contact VPD Sgt Rob Gough at 778-839-0294 for July 3 details and VPD Sgt Brian Trklja at 604-760-8104 for July 4 details. Please call after 9pm that day to confirm location.
Notes about the data:
*Injuries and crashes are police data, five-year average 2015 to 2019. Fatal victim counts are police data, five-year average 2014 to 2018. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.
**Canada Day is calculated from 00:00 to midnight and includes incidents where the time was not reported. Based on five-year average. Injured victim and crash data from ICBC data (2015 to 2019) and fatal victims from police data (2014 to 2018).
VANCOUVER _ The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is resuming on-road testing for commercial licences but drivers waiting for passenger vehicle tests must hold on a little longer.
In line with B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, the corporation says commercial road tests resume next week and appointments can be booked starting Thursday.
The tests are for drivers seeking licence endorsements ranging from a Class 1, which is operation of a semi-trailer, to Class 4, which covers school buses, ambulances, taxis and limousines.
ICBC says a decision about tests for other licence types, including Class 5 passenger vehicle licences, depends on the effectiveness of the first phase of testing and access to enough protective gear.
Examiners will use a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and disposable seat covers when doing the tests.
Those taking the tests will be asked several health questions and must wear a supplied medical-grade mask during the test.
ICBC suspended all road tests on March 17 because of the pandemic.
Nicolas Jimenez, the corporation’s president and CEO, says the safety of its customers and employees is the top priority.
“We have taken a thoughtful approach to develop a plan that allows us to resume road tests in the safest manner possible,” he says in a statement.
“Customers have been eager to see these services resume and we’re happy to have found a way to do so safely.”
Some knowledge tests, required in advance of a road test, resumed on May 4. The corporation expanded its approach on June 1 by including knowledge tests for all types of licenses.
Chances are good that your trailer has been slumbering, forgotten, in the back yard over the winter. Spring is here so we’ll just hook it up and go. A quick check in the rearview mirror, yes, it’s following us. The tug test has been passed, we’re good to continue.
I say this tongue in cheek, but I often think that drivers use this method to make sure their trailers are roadworthy. It takes much more than this to be sure.
All trailers need lights and reflectors that are both installed properly and working correctly. At minimum, there must be a yellow side marker lamp and reflector at both sides of the front, a red side marker lamp and reflector on both sides at the rear, brake and tail lamps on both sides at the rear, and a licence plate lamp.
Brake and loading requirements depend on the total weight of the trailer. The only sure way to know is to go to the scale and weigh in. Once you know the empty weight of your trailer you have the necessary starting point for deciding how much you can put in it.
There are three different scenarios for brake requirements:
- If the trailer and load weigh more than 1,400 kg brakes must be installed and operational.
- If the trailer is properly licenced, any trailer and load weighing more than 2,800 kg must have brakes that can be applied by the driver from the cab separately from the brakes of the tow vehicle.
- If the weight of the trailer and load is at or under 1,400 kg but more than half of the net weight of the vehicle towing it, brakes are required in this case as well.
A surge brake does not meet the needs of any trailer that weighs more than 2,800 kg.
Don’t attach your breakaway brake lanyard to the hitch or safety chain, attach it somewhere else on the vehicle. If the hitch fails entirely, there will be no force to apply the brakes unless you do this.
Putting more weight in the trailer than it is designed to carry may cause structural failure that can have serious consequences. Never exceed the carrying capacity of the trailer or it’s tires. Trailer weight capacities are shown on the capacity plate and tire capacities are shown on the sidewall.
If you have a U-bilt trailer, the total maximum licensed weight is often 700 kg. Check your registration documents if you are not sure.
Before we leave the subject of weight, remember that your trailer must weigh less than 900 kg if you are using a bumper hitch. It does not matter if the markings on your bumper specify a higher weight, the limit set by law in B.C. is 900 kg.
Safety chains, tire condition and inflation, load security and correct hitch ball size are among the other considerations that insure safe trailering.
If you have questions, please contact Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE), the nearest weigh scale or you local police.