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Highway enforcement 'blitz' outside city
Seven agencies join together for the first time in winter for Highway 4 inspections

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Truckers looking to set out on the winter roads to mine sites had to go through a few extra steps last week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Art Walton, regional manager for South Slave Road Licensing and Safety, from Hay River, and Donald Hendrick, acting highway transport officer from Inuvik, get down and dirty inspecting a commercial transport truck during an enforcement blitz on Thursday. - photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation, along with six other government agencies, conducted an enforcement "blitz" on Highway 4 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Officers from the department's compliance section, as well as officers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, bylaw, RCMP and Alberta's commercial vehicle enforcement - more than 20 inspectors in total - stopped traffic heading out of town, looking for any vehicle infractions they could find.

The officers conducted 25 full inspections on commercial vehicles, finding 23 defects and taking seven of them off the road.

Harris Beaulieu, manager of the transportation department's compliance section, said most of the infractions involved faulty brakes, insecure loads and drivers who didn't have enough rest.

"It's all on the driver, really. He needs to make sure his vehicle is safe and he has enough rest to complete the entire trip," Beaulieu said.

Although the number of infractions the officers found were a little higher than normal, Beaulieu said it's too be expected in the winter.

"It's just cold - things break and crack. There were no defects causing immediate danger."

Officers conducted what Beaulieu called a "full level one inspection," meaning the entire vehicle - including the undercarriage - was checked.

The inspections can try the patience of some cranky drivers.

"There's always the occasional driver that gets upset," Beaulieu said. "But it's something we have to deal with in a lot of cases, so we're quite proficient at dealing with that situation.

"Our number one goal is the safety of the travelling public."

Beaulieu said he was happy to have so many other agencies join his section for the blitz, including an exchange of officers from Alberta.

"This year, we asked them to join us in the winter. Usually we ask them to come in the summer.

"So it was a litter colder than they expected," Beaulieu joked.

The department conducts enforcement all through the year, Beaulieu said. They conducted the blitz last week to target commercial traffic which uses the winter roads to resupply diamond mines.

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