There has been an abundance of Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) officers patrolling the streets of Cranbrook in recent weeks and some local drivers have reported being ticketed for not having the proper licensing required for their specific vehicle. In some cases, drivers have been ticketed while driving a company vehicle.
Drivers in British Columbia are responsible for ensuring that they have proper licensing to tow trailers and drive commercial vehicles. Many trucks and trailers require the driver to have a heavy trailer endorsement or otherwise upgraded licensing.
CVSE officers are responsible for enforcing licence classes, restrictions, endorsements and vehicle safety. If your trailer or vehicle is overweight and you don’t have the proper driver’s licence or endorsement, you could receive a ticket. The same goes for a list of other driving requirements including having proper winter tires, if your vehicle is deemed unsafe, or if your vehicle requires an inspection. CVSE enforcement personnel have the authority to enforce any Motor Vehicle Act regulations.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure explained in an email to the Townsman that both drivers and companies are equally responsible for ensuring that the driver has the correct class of license. Ultimately however, the onus falls on the driver of the vehicle.
The same goes for violations on commercial vehicles, if a the driver of a commercial vehicle is found to be in violation, the driver is the one who gets the ticket – not the company who owns the vehicle. It could affect your safety rating when getting or renewing insurance.
“If they [the driver] does not hold the correct class of license, the driver could be issued a violation,” said the Ministry spokesperson. “If a driver of a commercial motor vehicle is issued a safety violation ticket and found guilty, the violation ticket will also impact the carrier’s record and be part of determining the carrier’s safety rating.”
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says that each driver is responsible to ensure they have the proper licence class, restriction and/or endorsements. In other words, anyone driving a company vehicle needs to be properly licensed or endorsed.
Drivers can also easily be overweight while towing holiday trailers. According to ICBC’s website, anyone with a class 4, 5 or 7 driver’s licence who is towing a trailer that weighs more than 4,600 kg is required to have a heavy trailer endorsement or upgraded licence. Not only that, but in the event of an accident you might not be covered.
“If a trailer weighs 4,000 kg when empty you may tow the trailer with a Class 4, 5 or 7 license. However, once you load the trailer with food, water and/or other items, the gross vehicle weight may exceed 4,600 kg,” says ICBC.
The Ministry of Transportation adds that generally, RV’s have the weights posted on them or are available from the manufacturer.
“Restrictions and endorsements are issued by ICBC,” explained the Ministry. “They indicate what is permitted or not permitted for each specific restriction.”
As the ICBC website states, “if the weight of the trailer and contents exceeds 4,600 kg and the driver does not have the correct driver’s licence or licence endorsement, the driver isn’t legally licensed to operate that vehicle combination.
“Similarly, if the towing vehicle or the trailer has air brakes, and the driver doesn’t have the correct driver’s licence or licence endorsement, the driver isn’t legally licensed to operate that vehicle combination. It’s the responsibility of the driver to ensure they have the appropriate licence for the vehicle they’re driving. Without the appropriate licence class, drivers could be in breach of their insurance in the event of an accident.”
There are a few options for upgrading Class 4 or 5 licences. The first option is to apply for a house trailer endorsement, which allows drivers to tow recreational house trailers of any weight appropriate for the vehicle. The second option is to apply for a heavy trailer endorsement, and the third is to qualify for a Class 1, 2 or 3 commercial vehicle licence.
The ICBC website has a fact sheet that includes information on towing a trailer that weighs more than 4,600 kg. There is also information on the website that explains how to upgrade your licence, including study materials for testing. For more information visit www.icbc.com. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website also has information for those with recreational vehicles and towing trailers. To find out more visit gov.bc.ca.
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