Regarding the report of Friday’s truck crash on Highway 5A near Stump Lake (Crash Leads To Calls For Big-Rig Ban, The Daily News, Oct. 9), this is the second serious “accident” within three weeks on that stretch of highway. The earlier one was only a few kilometres from this one, just past the far end of Stump Lake and, as far as I can determine, not reported by any news media. The evidence I saw at the scene suggested a truck and at least one car, which burned, was involved.
As is well known, long-haul trucks have increasingly been using Highway 5A between Kamloops and Merritt, probably for several reasons — to lower fuel consumption and to avoid both the steep climb on the Coq and the weigh station. At present, one encounters more trucks than cars or pickups on that narrow road.
Unfortunately, not all truck drivers are familiar with the dangers of Highway 5A. Too many do not keep to the posted speeds and lack the necessary skills to navigate this two-lane highway, which was not engineered for modern truck usage. Two curves in particular, one of which is poorly banked, have each seen two trucks go off the road in the last few years, with at least one fatality. Two of the trucks burned. All four crashes were obviously the result of excessive speed for the load being carried. Such poor judgment is far too common.
Three observations regarding the Daily News article. First, one truck was surely not carrying logs but lumber, as shown in the picture. Second, what is the evidence that, “Since 2007 the crash rate has been below the provincial average?” I would like to see the numbers, including the number and details of mishaps involving trucks in the last five years on the highway under discussion. If true, B.C. would indeed be a scary place to drive. My view is that the crash rate on Highway 5A between Kamloops and Merritt must be well above, not below, the provincial average. Third, what kind of “presence” is suggested in the statement, “Since 2007, Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement has increased its presence to about five days a week as well as enforcement”? In nearly 20 years of driving Highway 5A I have never seen even one police car, let alone anything being enforced.
We all need to get behind Kevin Krueger’s initiative to ban non-local truck traffic from Highway 5A. Despite measures taken in recent years to warn drivers to slow down, the crashes continue. Compromise, which allows truckers to use that section of highway has not worked. The time has come to declare Highway 5A from Kamloops to Merritt not an option for long-distance hauling. The life of any of us could depend on it.