Kyle Reiter was driving west on Highway 1 near Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford on Monday afternoon when he was jolted by the smash of a golf ball-sized rock hitting his windshield a few inches below his field of vision.
The rock had come through a tear in a tarp of the dump truck travelling in front of the 1984 Chevy flatbed truck that Reiter was driving, and the impact sprayed bits of glass in his face and mouth.
At first, Reiter was shaken. Then he was angry at the thought that the incident could have been more serious, causing him to drive off the road or collide with another vehicle.
Reiter pulled in front of the dump truck driver, trying to get his attention and have him pull over.
When the driver wouldn’t do so, Reiter began following him and called police on speaker phone. They told him to get the licence plate number, which was difficult to obtain because it was partly obscured by dirt.
Reiter stayed on the phone as he followed the driver off the freeway and into Langley. Police then suggested he stop tailing the driver, and Reiter went to his fabricating job near 56 Avenue and 196 Street in Surrey.
The following day, he tried to track down the trucking company on the internet, but was unable to find a working phone number.
Police told him they had been unable to track the rig.
Reiter didn’t want to let the incident go. He had already replaced his windshield twice and a headlight once in the last year due to flying rocks on the freeway, but this time was more serious, and he believed it was caused by the driver’s negligence.
“I could have killed myself and other people,” he said.
Later that day, again travelling through a construction zone in Langley on his way to work, Reiter spotted trucks that bore the same name as the one he had encountered on Highway 1.
He told a worker what had happened, and on Wednesday got a call from the company’s vice-president, who said he would look into the matter.
Reiter is hoping to have the windshield-replacement cost covered and the dump truck’s safety issues rectified.
In most cases, drivers are responsible for the cost of replacing their windshield in such circumstances or paying the deductible on their insurance, although some trucking companies will cover the expense as a measure of good will.
ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said the deductible for such claims through ICBC is $200 but, in many cases, it costs less than that to repair the windshield.
ICBC figures were not readily available for the number of windshield claims it handles in a given year.
Reiter reported the incident to the provincial government’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) branch, which monitors standards for commercial vehicles as outlined under the National Safety Code.
A CVSE spokesperson said complaints from the public are investigated, and the agency can then take steps that range from a warning letter to a recommendation that the driver’s safety certificate be suspended or cancelled.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, the CVSE conducts more than 30,000 vehicle inspections each year at both stationary and mobile sites.