B.C. truckers stop tractor-trailer making unsafe lane change on …

Two truck drivers from B.C.’s North Thompson took matters into their own hands last month when they stopped a commercial vehicle making the type of unsafe lane change they say could have led to another crash on a stretch of highway that’s already killed five people this year.

John Keating, who says he has been in the commercial trucking industry for more than two decades, captured the lane change on his dashcam video on March 24 around 7 a.m.: a southbound lowbed trailer illegally passed vehicles ahead of it crossing double solid yellow lines into the opposite northbound lane.

Keating, who lives in the Barriere area near where the maneuver occurred, says the trailer, bearing the name Manitoulin Transport, made the dangerous move when the passing lane ended near Darfield, about 74 kilometres north of Kamloops, B.C., on Highway 5.

“For no regard for oncoming traffic, he just went for it,” he told guest host Doug Herbert on CBC’s Daybreak Kamloops. “He had no idea what he was doing — if there wasn’t room, he was just going to crash.”

Keating says when he was approaching Barriere, he made radio calls to the truck driver ahead of him, asking whether they could box in the Manitoulin trailer and pull it over.

He says they managed to stop the vehicle and obtain additional information for the authorities. He posted the dashcam video and photos of the Manitoulin driver and his vehicle’s licence plate on social media, triggering dozens of criticisms of the driver’s behaviour.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Fedirchuk, the unit commander of the B.C. RCMP Highway Patrol, based in Kamloops, says police are investigating the incident and ask drivers not to take the law into their own hands.

“We get paid to do the enforcement. We have the proper tools in order to deal with pretty much any situation that arises,” Fedirchuk said. “You just never know who that person is, and it’s not worth it to put your life at risk.”

3 fatal collisions kill 5 on Hwy 5 north of Kamloops

Keating’s action, which he maintains wasn’t vigilantism, comes after three fatal vehicle crashes involving commercial vehicles that have killed five people so far this year on the section of Highway 5 north of Kamloops.

Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell has complained there aren’t enough RCMP officers dedicated to enforcing traffic laws on that stretch of highway and has called for B.C. Highway Patrol officers to be stationed in Clearwater and Kamloops — instead of having them come from Kelowna or elsewhere.

Some trucking industry professionals are calling for the mandatory installation of dashcams on commercial vehicles.

Keating says mandatory dashcam installation is a good idea but isn’t foolproof, as the camera can run out of power. He says it’s far better to address the root cause of traffic violations, which he attributes to how the trucking industry currently operates.

“You got a lot of third-party tractor services that the bigger carriers are hiring — they have very poor safety records, and it all comes down to the almighty dollar,” he said.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Ontario-based Manitoulin Transport said after looking at Keating’s dashcam video and photos, it determined that the driver isn’t its employee, and it doesn’t own the semi-truck that was pulling its trailer.

Daybreak Kamloops7:39Barriere-area trucker takes enforcement into his own hands after illegal pass

For months, people in the North Thompson been talking about dangerous driving on Highway 5 north of Kamloops. We talked with a Barriere trucker who actually took enforcement into his own hands after an incident last month.

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