BC Premier express astonishment at trucking firms request to lift bans

The ban followed an overpass crash last December

BC Premier express astonishment at trucking firms request to lift bans

Two trucking firms is set to take the British Columbia government to court in order to lift the ban on their vehicles following an overpass crash that occurred last December, as reported in an article by CityNews.

The lawyers of Chohan Freight Forwarders Ltd., a firm based in British Columbia and Chohan Group Ltd., a firm based in Alberta, have stated that the government made the wrong conclusion that they worked as one operation, clarifying that they were separate legal entities with a family connection.

“It’s difficult for the company to understand how the British Columbia regulator has formed a view that the incident on Dec. 28 implies that there is some threat to road safety in British Columbia from the Alberta company,” said Kevin Smith, the lawyer of Chohan Group.

According to Chohan Freight Forwarders, a truck that was driven by an “owner-operator” had collided with the overpass on Highway 99 in Delta, which lodged construction girders into the structure. The court documents stated that Kuljit Singh Chohan owned the British Columbia firm and his son Suneet Chohan owned and operated the Alberta firm.

Premier David Eby stated that citizens were frustrated about the number of overpass strikes, saying that Chohan was one of the worst offenders.

Smith clarified that the trucking industry is regulated depending on the province they are located and that the Chohan Group in Alberta had never been involved in a highway overpass crash. However, the British Columbia’s director of commercial vehicle safety and enforcement had denied the firm oversized load permits after the incident.

Smith further explained that the companies had separate fleets and the regulatory action had ignored how the companies worked.

Meanwhile, Chohan Freight Forwarders wanted to have its safety certificate restored as the independent contractor that was involved in the crash had taken accountability and had already been terminated. The firm further argued that the suspension for its 65-truck fleet was unreasonable and that it has been costing the firm about $1 million per week.

“There was nothing more they could have done to ensure that the incident didn’t happen, and so the suspension that’s been imposed appears designed not to ensure road safety, which is the purpose of these things under the legislation, but to punish Chohan Freight Forwarders for an incident that was entirely out of their control,” said Catherine George, Chohan Freight’s lawyer.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming stated at the time that the suspension of Chohan Freight’s fleet was due to the firm’s sixth infrastructure crash in two years.

The ministry recently stated that it was considering further enforcement action against Chohan Freight but could not provide any further comments as the matter is set to be handled by the courts.