Whitehorse Daily Star

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A MESSY SCENE – This was the scene on Aug. 7, 2017 after this Pacesetter Petroleum tanker rolled on the Alaska Highway between Rancheria and Swift Rivers in southeast Yukon. Its driver entered inaccurate information on his driving hours in a daily log book, territorial court heard. Photo courtesy RCMP

Tanker driver worked 15 hours without rest

Pacesetter Petroleum has been fined more than $1,000 following a tanker rollover on the Alaska Highway near Rancheria last August.

By Emily Blake on January 10, 2018

Pacesetter Petroleum has been fined more than $1,000 following a tanker rollover on the Alaska Highway near Rancheria last August.

In territorial court Tuesday afternoon, the bulk fuel delivery company pled guilty to two charges under the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

Pacesetter took responsibility for allowing one of its drivers to enter inaccurate information regarding driving hours in a daily log book.

He also drove more than 15 hours without taking at least an eight-hour rest period before driving again – contrary to national regulations.

Based on a joint submission by the Crown and defence, Judge Peter Chisholm agreed to fines totalling $1,100 plus $165 in victim surcharge fees.

He noted the amount could have been different had there not been a joint submission, but that $1,100 was within the range of penalties for this type of offence.

Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000.

Defence lawyer Megan Hannam noted Pacesetter was not aware of the infractions when they took place.

However, the company has taken responsibility and acknowledges it could have been more “duly diligent” in enforcing standards.

Hannam added the company has also taken internal steps to address the matter.

Crown prosecutor Kimberly Sova said hours of service regulations are intended to reduce incidents of fatigue, which are a significant cause of accidents.

Pacesetter was charged following an incident on Aug. 7, 2017 where a B-train travelling back to the Yukon from Edmonton left the Alaska Highway between Rancheria and Swift Rivers in southeast Yukon.

One of the two tanks it was hauling ruptured in the rollover, spilling around 30,000 litres of gasoline.

Due to the spill, the highway was closed in both directions for almost 24 hours.

The driver suffered minor injuries. No other vehicles were involved.

Investigation into the matter showed that information in the driver’s daily log was inaccurate when compared to fuel receipts and reports at weigh stations.

It also found the driver had exceeded regulatory driving times without a rest period.

On Sept. 15, 2017, a spokesperson for Environment Yukon told the Star Pacesetter had removed approximately 2,655 cubic metres of contaminated soil from the area and was at the end of required excavation work.

In his decision Tuesday, Judge Chisholm noted this type of infraction poses a risk to public safety, both to motorists and as a result of environmental consequences.

But he acknowledged it was positive that Pacesetter had accepted responsibility and taken internal steps to address the issue.

“I’m hopeful that this is the last time Pacesetter Petroleum finds itself in the courts with this type of matter,” he said.

This is the second time Pacesetter has incurred fines for a driver failing to meet regulations.

In late October 2017, Pacesetter was fined $1,265, including victim surcharge fees.

That happened after the company pleaded guilty to four contraventions of regulations under the National Safety Code, Motor Vehicles Act and Transportation of Dangerous Good Act.

The charges stemmed from an incident on June 22, 2017. A Freightliner tanker carrying 16,8000 litres of jet fuel rolled over at the intersection of the Alaska and North Klondike highways.

Investigation into the matter found the driver did not have a daily hours of service log book for the past 14 days – nor a log of any inspections of the commercial vehicle, as required.

He also did not have the requisite training certificate for the transport of dangerous goods.

Pacesetter also pled guilty for the tanker not being inspected nor meeting standards.

A post-crash inspection of the tanker found that the brakes on the left side of both axles showed signs of rust and did not meet maintenance standards.

Court documents, however, did not detail whether this was the cause of the accident.

The rollover triggered massive lineups of commuter and tourist traffic after both highways had to be closed for most of the day so the mess could be cleaned up.

Comments (8)

Up 0 Down 0

Jandeb on Jan 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm

This driver only got caught because of the accident. Upper management has forbidden the weigh scale officers from patrolling and pulling over suspect vehicles. They have to have two officers to do that, which happens rarely due to staffing. Their excuse is that officers are not trained to do that, however when training is available they won't send anyone on it. This has been going on for about 16 years. Commercial drivers have little to fear. They can patrol solo but are not authorized to stop a commercial vehicle, they can only make notes.

Up 6 Down 0

north_of_60 on Jan 13, 2018 at 1:10 am

The next time you see a B-Train fuel tanker coming at you on the highway, just remember the driver might have been driving more than 15 hours without taking at least an eight-hour rest period before driving again – contrary to national regulations, and could have falsified log books to cover it up. After all, it only costs $1000 bucks, IF they get caught. Nothing will be done to change this unless someone gets killed or seriously injured in an accident.

Up 3 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Jan 12, 2018 at 3:26 pm

I am wondering who the principals of Pacsetter might be to get off with such small fines in light of the scope of their offences? As noted below it appears that not all violators of these regulations are considered in the same manner. Also the story notes, National Safety Code, Motor Vehicles Act and Transportation of Dangerous Good Act, where are the fines as determined by WCHSB for violating the Health and Safety regulations? Why are the authorities looking the other way on this case?

Up 5 Down 1

Dave on Jan 12, 2018 at 3:17 pm

PSG, yes when you make a comparison between this and the Dawson area mine spill case last summer it's fairly ludicrous isn't it? The message sent is that the system will hit miners hard over relatively nothing while a trucking company and driver breaking the law resulting is a massive spill of 30,000 liters will get a slap on the wrist. Is there anyone out there who actually has respect for the system that handed these two respective punishments out?
I got a good chuckle out of it when a representative of Pacesetter was quoted last summer as saying the company had an excellent safety record. After two major spills in the space of several months they have a p--- poor safety record now.

Up 6 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Jan 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

30,000 L is huge, yet a placer miner spills a fraction of that amount and they'll try to hammer him/her big time.
Definitely not an appropriate fine for the spill and sloppy operation by Pacesetter.

Up 6 Down 0

Allan Foster on Jan 11, 2018 at 10:30 am

LMAO - a $1,000 fine will NOT cause anything to change

Up 6 Down 1

Robert Scott on Jan 10, 2018 at 5:30 pm

A $1,000.00 penalty is very light for either specific or general deterrence. While there was no fatalities the potential was high. This penalty is a sad excuse and won't change behaviour!

Up 4 Down 2

Bobby MacDonald on Jan 10, 2018 at 4:51 pm

This industry needs better enforcing of existing regulations.
Terribly unsafe for the travelling public and the environment.
Fines need to reassed! Small fines are silly, this will happen again.

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