British Columbia suspends carrier following collision with overpass sign

January 17, 2024

Ryan Witkowski


When it comes to infrastructure crashes involving commercial vehicles, British Columbia is taking a zero-tolerance approach.

Under new enforcement efforts, the province has suspended the safety certificate of yet another carrier – the third such suspension in the past three weeks.

The most recent suspension came as the result of a Monday, Jan. 15 incident in which a tractor-trailer carrying an oversized load struck a sign hanging from the Gilmore overpass on Highway 1 near Burnaby, British Columbia.

According to the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, there was no visible damage to the bridge, and the sign attached to the overpass “sustained minor damage.” Despite this, the ministry chose to suspend the carrier’s safety certificate during its investigation into the crash.

The truck – which was hauling the fuselage of a helicopter – belonged to Abbotsford, British Columbia-based International Machine Transport Inc. The driver had secured an oversize permit for the load; however, the ministry said the height of the helicopter “exceeded what was stated on the permit.”

The carrier operates on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, but only the company’s 20-truck British Columbia fleet will be impacted by the suspension. The company did not respond to Land Line’s request for comment.

In December, the province announced a plan designed to mitigate future wrecks by increasing fines and penalties for carriers involved in infrastructure crashes. 

In addition to fines that are the highest of their kind in Canada, the province also has started suspending the safety certificate of carriers who strike a bridge or overpass until Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement completes its investigation. For repeat offenders, the ministry said penalties will become “increasingly severe.”

“The immediate suspensions and the significant cost they bring to a company will be a permanent tool,” the ministry said in a statement. “However, repeat offenders will face longer suspensions and may have their certificate to operate in B.C. revoked.”

The ministry wasted no time when it came to exercising this new power, suspending the safety certificate of Chohan Freight Forwarders Ltd. two weeks after the new penalties were announced. The wreck that led to the company’s suspension was the carrier’s sixth infrastructure crash in the previous two years.

Two weeks later, on Jan. 10, the ministry suspended the safety certificate of TSD Holdings Inc. following a collision with a tunnel.

“Infrastructure crashes have a huge impact. They delay commuters, affect the movement of goods and can impede first responders. This means families, businesses and the economy all suffer,” said British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming. “Safety is the priority, and this issue needs to stop.”

According to British Columbia’s Commercial Vehicle Bridge/Overpass Crash Report, which contains information on all infrastructure crashes in the province since Dec. 10, 2021, the crash earlier this month is TSD Holding’s only one on file. The same is true for International Machine Transport Inc. LL