Approximately 120 truck drivers in Williams Lake assembled at the curling rink on Friday for an annual event to recognize, appreciate and award drivers for their driving skills and their contribution to both their industry and their communities.
Tolko Industries, Sigurdson and West Fraser Timber awarded prizes to their top drivers with the highest safety records, and long-time truck drivers Vic Bremner, Dennis Carman, Harold Eckert and Charley Grover were acknowledged for their years in the industry.
The event included a barbecue lunch cooked and served by James Western Star, tables of door prize items generously donated from the community and a keynote presentation by well-known safety consultant Russ Dosenberg. “He does all the major fatality investigations, is a very good speaker and was very well-received,” stated West Fraser operations supervisor Amanda Black. “He included the truckers in the conversation, letting drivers know what their responsibilities are when it comes to regulations and compliance, as well as their costs, so they’re not caught unaware when something happens.”
Bruce Combs has been helping to organize the event for 18 years, has been with the trucking industry for 35 years and has been on the Central Cariboo Truckers Compliance Committee (CCTA) since its beginning.
“It’s important to recognize our drivers. They’re out in the public and drive on the same roads as we do, so we have to have them safe. We want to give them all the information and tools they need to do that,” he explained. “When they do a good job we want to reward them, and this is how we do it.”
Compliance committee members explained that the group started in 1996, when a memorandum of understanding was signed related to the amount of over-loads being hauled by local drivers. A discussion with the owners and drivers resulted, to find out what could be done to reduce the number of over-loads, and provide some benefit for the community. The drivers are required to follow the rules and regulations, but their penalties go to a good cause: supporting the communities where they haul.
Tolko reported a total $189,029. and West Fraser $188, 927. so far in 2014/2015. Inspector Ed Marshall from Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement is chair of the compliance committee. He said that the committee is recognized by the head of their program as an example in the whole province, and that Tolko has taken the concept province-wide.
“The success of the compliance committee is well-known in B.C.,” he added.
Combs said that the committee takes donation requests from wherever they haul: Likely, Horsefly, and throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin.
“We haul to those communities,” he said, “and we give back to those communities.”