BC Forest Safety Council

BC Forest Safety Council

October 26, 2006 10:00 ET

BC Forest Safety Council TruckSafe Program Launches Province-Wide Road Safety Awareness Campaign

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 26, 2006) - A new public awareness radio campaign on sharing the roads has been launched by the BC Forest Safety Council's Forestry TruckSafe program on 40 radio stations in communities throughout the province to alert truckers and the driving public of increased commercial vehicle traffic.

The series of 30-second radio announcements come at a time when there is increased logging truck activity on highways and resource roads brought on by harvesting timber affected by the mountain pine beetle, coupled with a surge in mining, oil and gas development in many B.C. regions. Increased road use during the fall hunting season has also heightened the possibility of collisions between commercial and private vehicles. Last week alone several crashes between private vehicles and logging trucks resulted in fatalities around the province.

"We are seeing a rise in collisions resulting in serious injuries and fatalities as we are heading into the winter hauling season," says MaryAnne Arcand, Forestry TruckSafe director. "It's going to be really busy on highways and resource roads, and drivers need to know what they are facing. These public announcements, along with our other awareness activities, go a long way to warning people of the potential dangers and delivering safety tips at the same time."

Arcand adds that, "statistics show that 84 percent of the time, the private motorists involved in collisions with logging trucks are at fault, reinforcing the need for the safety campaign aimed at all road users."

Campaign messages to the public include reminders about long loads turning, visibility around big trucks, stopping times, to pass only when safe, and to 'expect the unexpected'. Additional messages will air over the next six months - many from the perspective of logging truck drivers themselves.

The radio campaign is part of a comprehensive Forestry TruckSafe program undertaken by the BC Forest Safety Council in recognition that 25 percent of fatalities in the forest industry involve the transportation of logs, wood products and forest workers. In 2005, nine logging truck drivers were killed and, to date this year, five drivers have lost their lives.

The program promotes public and driver safety on the 650,000 kilometers of resource roads and 47,000 kilometers of public roads in B.C. Other Forestry TruckSafe initiatives include a safety hotline, 1-877-324-1212, where drivers can report hazards ranging from poor driving conditions to unsafely driven trucks. Since it launched last February the toll free hotline has received more than 300 calls.

To help drivers identify and report trucks to the hotline, the Council has also introduced a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) program. Supported by many licensees, their contractors, WorkSafeBC and B.C. Timber Sales, the program involves truck owners putting unique number plates on their vehicles that can be used to identify individual trucks.

Arcand says, "the VIN plate program helps in getting a grip on unsafe driving and in highlighting the good guys. We have nearly 10,000 vehicles now carrying VIN plates and expect interest in the program to continue."

Forestry TruckSafe is one of four 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.

To find out more about Forestry TruckSafe and the BC Forest Safety Council visit their website at www.bcforestsafe.org.

Contact Information

  • BC Forest Safety Council
    MaryAnne Arcand
    (250) 612-2267
    BC Forest Safety Council
    Karen Zukas
    (604) 696-3959
    Website: www.bcforestsafe.org
    Peak Communicators
    Alyn Edwards
    (604) 689-5559