As the B.C. Coroners Service and RCMP continue to investigate Friday's double fatality on Highway 5A, questions persist over whether trucks should be on that road at all.
Following a conversation with Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger over the weekend, Transportation Minister Mary Polak said her office is willing to review measures to once again address safety on the highway.
"We don't have any current plans to ban truck traffic on that stretch of highway," said Polak. "But we are also awaiting the results of a police investigation into the tragedy so that certainly will inform any future decision that we're making.
"You never have a closed door to what recommendations the RCMP or others may make after an investigation like that."
On Tuesday, the B.C. Coroners Service identified the driver transporting cement as 59-year-old Gary Joseph Miller of Kamloops.
The identity of the second victim, who was transporting lumber, is being withheld pending family notification, said coroner Barb McLintock.
Miller had recently moved to the city from Abbotsford with his wife of four years, Gillian Sanderson, to get away from traffic congestion, according to Cindy Parker, Sanderson's friend of 30 years.
"They had, I must say, one of the best marriages that I know," said Parker.
Sanderson is still in disbelief and absolute shock, she said.
Miller was a new grandfather; both his children had recently had children of their own.
"He was such a level-headed, smart, nice, gentleman," she said.
Parker took exception to comments on online news stories suggesting speeding or distracted driving was to blame.
"He's the most safe driver," she said. "He's been doing it a long time. It was their family business. Until you get the facts, you don't know. Don't even say it."
She did agree with the push by Highway 5A residents and Krueger to ban commercial trucks on that stretch of road.
"It is a two-lane, narrow country road," she said. "It takes something like this before things get done. So hopefully they will ban it because as they said, they were worried about a school bus."
Long haul trucks speeding along windy Highway 5A have long been a concern for local residents.
Polak said the stretch of road has a lower crash rate than the provincial average. The ministry did not provide crash statistics by press time.
B.C. has spent $8 million since 2001 to improve safety and a task force of numerous agencies provided recommendations in 2007 that have been implemented.
Anecdotally, those who live and work along the highway say big rigs are a hazard and the situation is only getting worse.
Matt Williams, the Nicola Ranch manager of 14 years and the former manager of Stump Lake Ranch for 16 years, said he doesn't necessarily support a ban on trucks, but something has to be done.
"The highway intersects the ranch, so we live with these big trucks every single day. It's getting crazy the number of trucks here. They drive in caravans. This road was never designed for the level of big truck traffic that it's getting."
He said the 60-kilometre speed limit is respected "exceptionally rarely" by commercial drivers. The deteriorating road is also being neglected by maintenance crews, which adds to safety concerns, he said.
Williams doesn't have an answer but believes a review is in order.
"I doubt that they'll police themselves, so I don't think education will be particularly beneficial."
The B.C. Trucking Association does not support a ban on trucks along Highway 5A, said its president Louise Yako.
There's no other provincial stretch of road currently at the centre of a push for transport truck bans, but local municipalities in the Lower Mainland have discussed bans, she said.
The reality of banning trucks on certain roadways leading to longer hauls is increased costs and dangers because more time on the road means higher risk of accidents, she said.
"You'd inadvertently be creating a greater safety risk than the one you were trying to reduce or eliminate."
The organization was part of the task force of several agencies that came together in 2007 to address safety concerns. The result was new signage, guardrails and other infrastructure as well as stepped-up education and enforcement.
Yako said she believes there's a need for still greater education around the issue.