A Canadian trucking company has been ordered to cease operations after one of its drivers hit a highway overpass in the province of British Columbia on Thursday, causing infrastructure damage and delaying traffic for hours in the region.
The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation said it’s the sixth crash involving Chohan Freight Forwarders and an overpass in the past two years. A Chohan-driven truck also struck the same overpass in February 2022.
“This suspension is a result of the company’s unwillingness or inability to operate safely within the province,” British Columbia Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said in a news release. “Furthermore, the driver and the carrier responsible will face the toughest fines in the country. The outcome of the investigation could lead to further action.”
Chohan Freight Forwarders’ safety certificate was suspended on Friday by the British Columbia transportation ministry. The carrier is based in Langley and has 65 trucks, according to officials.
The accident occurred around noon on Thursday, when a Chohan Freight Forwarders’ truck carrying large steel girders struck the overpass along Highway 99 and 112th Street in the city of Delta.
The accident shut down both lanes of Highway 99, as well as the 112th Street overpass, for several hours. Authorities said one person at the scene was taken to a hospital by an ambulance and was reported in stable condition.
Chohan Freight Forwarders officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FreightWaves.
In a statement to CBC News, a Chohan spokesperson said the company follows all safety protocols and is cooperating with agencies investigating the accident.
“Unfortunately, one of our trucks operated by an owner-operator was involved in an accident today in Delta,” the spokesperson told CBC News. “The driver, who is not a company driver, failed to wait to receive his permit and route directions for his oversized load.”
The company blamed Thursday’s crash on driver error.
“At approximately 12:22 p.m., our safety department received a phone call from the driver stating that his load was oversized. Our safety manager advised the owner-operator to wait while he obtained the permit,” the spokesperson for Chohan Freight Forwarders said. “Within eight minutes, the safety manager received a call from the owner-operator advising that he had crashed into the overpass.”
Chohan Freight Forwarders was also responsible for overpass strikes on Dec. 10, 2021, at the 192nd Street Highway 1 overpass; on Feb. 12, 2022, at the 264th Street Highway 1 overpass; on Feb. 17, 2022, at the 112th Street Highway 1 overpass; and on June 8, 2022, at the Highway 1 overpass and No. 3 Road.
After the crash on June 8, 2022, the transportation ministry briefly suspended Chohan Freight Forwarders from operating. The suspension was lifted June 30, after the carrier provided authorities with a revised safety plan.
On April 11, a truck belonging to Chohan Freight Forwarders slammed into a house in the city of Kelowna. A woman and her grandson were trapped by the crash and had to be rescued, according to the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation recorded 17 overpass collisions involving tractor-trailers in 2023.
On Dec. 14, the transportation ministry announced new rules and stricter fines for carriers involved in accidents, including the requirement for dump-style vehicles to have in-cab warning devices notifying drivers if their trailers have not been lowered.
Over-height vehicle fines increased from $115 to as much as $575, the highest in the country, according to a news release.
“Infrastructure crashes have a huge impact. … They delay commuters, affect the movement of goods and can impede first responders,” Fleming said in a statement. “That’s why we’re taking tougher action, grounding fleets through suspensions and increasing fines.”
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