Over the course of my service in traffic law enforcement I saw many things that made me shake my head.
Examples include a pickup truck that had a rope strung through the vent windows and tied to the windshield wipers so that they could be operated by the passenger; another pickup with black plastic tape stuck over the brake warning light so that the brightness would not bother the driver at night and a car had no working lights on the rear because ICBC had not arranged for collision repairs yet. Admittedly, these are extreme examples, but there are many vehicles on our highways that are not being properly maintained by their owners.
I had developed a routine that involved a circle from the driver’s door forward around the vehicle and back again. Once completed I had a fairly good idea whether the defects were minor in nature (a box 3), worthy of an immediate tow (a box 1), or somewhere in between. That would call for a “box 2” which required that the vehicle be promptly presented at a Designated Inspection Facility.
If the inspector identified defects, they had to be repaired immediately and a passed inspection report submitted to Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement within 30 days.
If the 30-day period expired without a pass report, ICBC would flag the vehicle licence record. If police subsequently found the vehicle being driven on the highway the vehicle licence and number plates could be seized and the driver issued a violation ticket with a significant penalty. The system insures that the vehicle is repaired.
Should the owner decide that it was not worth repairing the vehicle, they simply cancelled the vehicle licence, effectively removing it from the road and it could be disposed of with no further enforcement costs. If the buyer wanted to licence it, the ICBC flag remained and no vehicle related transactions would be allowed until a pass report was issued.
I liked to use this method rather than immediately issuing a violation ticket for driving a defective vehicle. It allowed the driver or owner to spend the money that would have gone to the ticket on the inspection and repair process and I was assured that vehicle maintenance would be done.
For more information about this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.