A veteran trucker is defending his colleagues from Abbotsford residents who have called for a police crackdown on those who park illegally in the reversible turning lane on Clearbrook Road while making a stop at the nearby Tim Hortons.
Ray Yeoman spoke to The News in response to a petition started by Jennifer Rowse who wrote that truck drivers “value their coffee more than other drivers’ lives.”
Yeoman said her criticisms were unfair because drivers have virtually no other choice to make a quick stop for food, coffee and a bathroom break in Abbotsford.
“The whole valley has got to the point … that they want to chase trucks right out of there,” said the Regina-based furniture hauler with more than 50 years experience.
Rowse said she drives her children along Clearbrook several times a day and has had several dangerous close calls caused by the parked trucks.
Yeoman responded: “It’s a busy, busy main street no matter what. If you’re driving up and down it three times a day and you’re worried about your children, there’s got to be a better alternative.”
He said he understood the concerns from Rowse and the approximately 150 people who have signed the petition.
“But at the same time, I’m from Saskatchewan — Where am I going to go? I want a cup of coffee, I want to go to the bathroom, I want to leave.”
As parking options have disappeared across Canada over the years, so too has their pay and the public’s respect for their profession, Yeoman said.
“It’s just really gone downhill and I’m not sure how you ever cure the problem,” he said. “Everybody forgets that we’ve got families and children that we want to feed and look after.”
Sgt. Judy Bird of the Abbotsford Police said her department has received complaints about trucks parked along Clearbrook and has stepped up enforcement. Police have also asked the city to install signage warning truckers not to park there, she said.
The president and CEO of the BC Trucking Association, Dave Earle, said he has heard from many members that parking options are lacking in Abbotsford but that doesn’t justify those who park illegally and potentially put other motorists in danger.
“The BCTA actively encourages all its members and all operators in the industry to drive with the utmost attention to safety,” he said.