BC Forest Safety Council Urges Drivers to Stay Safe on Roads This Summer

June 28, 2007

With private motorists responsible for 84 per cent of collisions with logging trucks, the BC Forest Safety Council is reminding drivers to use extra caution this summer. MaryAnne Arcand, director of the Council’s Forestry TruckSafe program says as people head to the roads for their summer vacations, all drivers need to be aware of the increased traffic and the need to drive safely.

There are more than 47,000 kilometres of public highways and 650,000 kilometres of resource roads in the province, Arcand explains, which means there are many opportunities for things to go wrong.

“The summer brings more holiday travel, alcohol use and construction delays, as well as more cyclists, pedestrians and motorbikes on the roads,” says Arcand. “People need to know what they’re up against.”

Arcand says some tips she has for drivers include giving yourself enough time to reach your destination, taking breaks from driving, drinking water instead of pop or coffee and not overloading your vehicle.

Along with the safety campaign, the Council’s Forestry TruckSafe program is involved in a number of initiatives to improve safety on the roads. Starting this weekend, a series of radio ads will run on 40 stations throughout the province, reminding all drivers to be safe while behind the wheel. The ads focus on wearing seatbelts, not drinking and driving, slowing down and minimizing distractions.

Additionally, the Council has been assisting Industry Canada and the Ministry of Forests and Range to overhaul the province’s resource road radio frequencies. These frequencies are used by truckers to help the safe flow of traffic. Recent increases in road use has strained this system and led to a number of problems. Because of this, a number of stakeholders including the Council collaborated to develop a new system with fewer and more easily identifiable channels. This system allows for a simple, straight-forward approach to co-ordinate where they are used.

The TruckSafe program is also working on developing certification standards for truckers and ensuring all trucks in BC use vehicle identification number (VIN) plates. Supported by licensees, contractors, WorkSafeBC and BC Timber Sales, the program involves truck owners putting unique numbered plates on their vehicles for identification and safety purposes. Since launching the program last fall, thousands of truckers from Chetwynd to Smithers to Clearwater have enrolled.

“We are dedicated to creating safer roads for everyone,” says Arcand. “If we can prevent one accident or death, then it’s worth all the efforts.”

To find out more information about the Forestry TruckSafe program, or to view a copy of the Council’s 2006-07 Progress Report which outlines other program initiatives, visit the Council’s web site at www.bcforestsafe.org.

Forestry TruckSafe is one of three major programs of the BC Forest Safety Council. The Council is a not-for-profit society dedicated to promoting forest health and safety. It was founded and is supported by all major forestry organizations in B.C. and works with forestry employers, workers, contractors and the provincial government and agencies to implement changes necessary to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries in the forest sector.

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