Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Defective vehicles — a crash looking for a place to happen?

What do you do with a pickup that has only one operating light

By Tim Schewe

What do you do with a pickup that has only one operating light, a high beam headlight, being driven at night between towns? How about another being driven in the rain with wipers being operated by the passenger who was pushing and pulling on a rope with one end tied to each wiper and run through the passenger compartment via the vent windows? One driver even put black tape over the warning light that would have led him to discover no brake fluid in one reservoir of his master cylinder if he had investigated it.

These examples are just a few of many that I ran into over the course of my career in traffic law enforcement. Apparently this is still a common problem according to an article in Burnaby Now dated Nov. 14, 2020 and titled “Burnaby cops find whopping number of people driving ‘defective’ vehicles.” It’s illustrated with a picture of a high end SUV being towed away.

My father was a service station owner and he said that the advent of self serve gas stations were a boon to the auto repair business. It was part of my job as a pump jockey to check a vehicle over while filling the tank and bring any issues discovered to the driver’s attention. For the most part, this service is now part of history.

Despite the lack of maintenance, I cannot point to many collisions I investigated that were directly attributed to a vehicle defect. Bald tires on a rainy day and bad brakes are the only examples that come to mind.

I suspect that many defects simply compounded driver error and made the situation unavoidable rather than causing the crash directly.

Prior to legislation ending the requirement to report a collision to the police in 2008, crashes would be investigated and reported using ICBC form MV6020. The contributing factors determined by the investigator used to be recorded there and could guide Vision Zero planning if it were available today.

Referring back to my list of defects at the beginning of this article, it’s glaringly obvious that these drivers chose to put other road users at risk. What might be less obvious is the dilemma I was in. Now that I had found them I was obligated to do something about it or I would risk liability myself if I were to let them continue.

Once your vehicle is no longer properly equipped for use on the highway you are obligated to remove it immediately. In order to take it to repair you would call a tow truck or other vehicle capable of moving the vehicle safely such as a deck truck. This is the only legal way to move a defective vehicle on the highway.

If you choose not to and are a significant hazard, police will order the vehicle removed immediately, may seize the licence plates and vehicle licence document to return to ICBC. The order will also require that you repair the vehicle and pass inspection at a designated inspection facility prior to driving the vehicle on the highway again. This is commonly known as a notice and order number one.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

Column

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

Phaecelia used as a cover crop attracts bees and provides them with high quality nectar. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Cover crops keep soil healthy and productive

We don’t harvest a cover crop and instead dig the tops under when they’re immature and soft

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Home is where you know your neighbours

My mom has lived at that address for 43 years.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read