Dashcam footage shared by a professional driver shows a transport driver passing on a double solid line near Barriere March 24. (Bruce Martens image)

Dashcam footage shared by a professional driver shows a transport driver passing on a double solid line near Barriere March 24. (Bruce Martens image)

VIDEO: Truck drivers prevent collision after dangerous pass on Highway 5 near Barriere

The incident was captured on dashcam and shared on social media

By Hettie Buck

Black Press Media

Dashcam footage capturing a dangerous, double-solid-line pass by a commercial transport truck is the latest Highway 5 incident to draw the attention of local leaders and professional truck drivers.

The video shows some quick thinking by two professional drivers from Barriere and Clearwater who are credited with potentially saving lives during the incident.

“My only thought was, I’d better get going a hell of a lot faster, because if I didn’t speed up and the lowbed who was behind slowed down to create enough room for him to fit in before he met that oncoming traffic there would have been another fatal accident, which has become very common up here lately,” said logging truck driver John Keating, who posted the dashcam video to social media.

“You have to be constantly aware on this highway, it’s just necessary because it’s getting really bad.”

On March 24 at 7 a.m. a southbound semi was captured on Keating’s dashcam video passing a loaded lowbed crossing over the double solid yellow lines and into the opposite northbound passing lane illegally near Darfield just out of Barriere, B.C. The logging truck ahead of a small white passenger car is seen making room for the transport narrowly making it back into the correct lane while the smaller passenger vehicle is pushed to the shoulder in between semitrucks.

Clearwater mayor Merlin Blackwell noted in a public post about the video he will continue to pressure the ministries responsible to make changes fast.

Blackwell, Barriere mayor Ward Stamer and Clearwater Coun. Ken Matheson, a former RCMP member, have been pressing for changes to improve Highway 5 safety in the wake of multiple fatalities in recent months. The highway has seen a substantial increase in enforcement as a result of the concerns. with a six-week highway enforcement blitz by Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) and BC Highway Patrol just wrapping up.

“We need to bolster our local Highway Patrol and to ensure that no attempt is made to move its operations to Kamloops. It’s time to take the pressure up another notch,” noted Blackwell.

Keating, who has been a professional driver for 23 years, shared how you can spot an inexperienced driver.

“Brake lights all the time. Accelerate and then brake lights going into a corner, well that’s a tell-tale sign that driver has not got the experience to drive this road, doesn’t know the road, but yet will drive far too fast for it anyway.”

The lowbed driver, Bruce Martens, who has been driving commercial vehicles since the 80’s told Black Press that he’s concerned about the lack of experience many new to B.C. drivers have in navigating Highway 5.

“Better training is definitely needed for all new drivers. I honestly don’t know how some of these guys are getting hired with so little experience.”

Martens also suggests that more passing lanes would definitely help.

“Our highway is getting busier and busier. You’ll see all the big loads coming this way because they can’t go through the tunnels through Golden, so all the big wide loads come through here.”

Both Keating and Martens later stopped when it was safe to do so to report the incident and offer the dashcam footage to RCMP after calling 911.

This is just the latest frightening incident following multiple fatal crashes in February along this busy stretch of highway involving commercial vehicles that has local officials calling for immediate action by the provincial government to implement stronger regulatory measures that emphasize the extensive training needed to qualify for a commercial licence in B.C.

Blackwell said that he hopes to meet with B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth and Transportation Minister, Rob Fleming, in the near future to discuss this incident and multiple critical Highway 5 safety issues before the summer tourism season ramps up.

Mayor Blackwell also thanked the two drivers who documented and reported the incident and concluded by saying, “I’m also astounded that after six weeks of heavy enforcement, we still have drivers not getting the message.”

READ MORE: Mayors plea for Hwy. 5 changes after multiple fatal crashes near Clearwater, Barriere

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