How many lives will new British Columbia truck driving law save?
In April 2018, 16 young hockey players lost their lives after the bus they were in was struck by a semi-trailer with an inexperienced driver who disregarded the stop sign in an intersection. The surviving family members of the deceased players have since advocated for stricter laws to ensure truck operators receive adequate training before taking to British Columbia roads.
Parents’ efforts to prevent more deaths
The parents’ pleas were successful, and laws for mandatory training of truck drivers will take effect on October 18, 2021. The aim is to ensure every big rig driver on British Columbia roads is competent and responsible, with the appropriate training to keep other road users safe. The new mandatory training will hopefully limit the risks of more tragedies similar to the one on April 2018.
Occupants of smaller vehicles are typically worst off in crashes involving big rigs. Those who survive truck accidents are often left with life-altering injuries. The crash that caused the deaths of 16 hockey players also caused severe injuries to 13 other players. Although the negligent trucker pleaded guilty and received an eight-year prison sentence, the families pushed for mandated training because the eight years behind bars will not relieve the pain of losing their children.
Implementation of MELT
British Columbia will follow other provinces in implementing Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) to change the level of skills new drivers will have by the time they are allowed on public roads. The MELT program mandates at least 140 hours of training to ensure the truck operators on British Columbia roads are adequately trained.
People who survive truck accidents in British Columbia might have viable personal injury claims to file in a civil court. The same applies to surviving family members of deceased crash victims. While nothing can erase the trauma, monetary judgments against negligent truck drivers might ease the financial burden.