We use cookies on this site to enhance your online experience. By continuing to use this site, you agree to accept cookies.


Winter is here and the government’s road maintenance contractors are applying “winter abrasive aggregate material” to the roadways. (Do you remember the old days when this was called “sand”? And when it really was sand?)

The government has issued guidelines for its winter aggregates. The maximum particle size is 12.5 mm (1/2”) on paved highways. Apparently the government has found aggregate of 9.5 mm (3/8”) to be less effective, hence the larger size.

Inevitably, these half inch projectiles damage the bodies and the windshields of trucks and cars travelling at highway speed.

Having a damaged windshield can result in a ticket ($70 fine) or a Notice and Order requiring replacement. Here, briefly, are the rules about damaged windshields. They are considered to be defective if there is:

  1. any defect directly in front of the driver, other than small stone injuries of 6 mm (1/4”) or less (by “directly in front of the driver” I am referring to the leftmost 20 inches of the windshield, but excluding the top three inches and the bottom three inches)
  2. a crack over 300 mm (12”) long in any part
  3. more than two cracks over a 150 mm (6”) long in any one piece of glass
  4. stone or shot injuries more than 40 mm (1-1/2”) in diameter
  5. two or more stone or shot injuries over 20 mm (3/4”) in diameter in any one piece of glass

For a complete and more accurate list, please refer directly to Section 29 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.

In these circumstances, anyone having glass coverage issued by I.C.B.C. should expect to pay his deductible and have his damaged windshield replaced at I.C.B.C.’s expense. That is true. But, drivers need to be aware of I.C.B.C.’s “escalating deductible and/or denial of coverage process” which it introduced in 2003. Under that process, I.C.B.C. reviews customers who have had multiple comprehensive claims over a three-year period. When coverage is next up for renewal, I.C.B.C. will examine the number and types of claims, and the total amount paid, over the previous three years. Then, it may decide to offer coverage at a higher deductible (such as $500, $1000, and up to $5,000), or may remove access to some types of coverage. I.C.B.C. will notify its customers by letter prior to the renewal date, indicating whether they are increasing the deductible or denying coverage, and the reason for taking that action. …

Most of the B.C. statutes and regulations concerning transportation law may be accessed for free on the Internet. You can try www.bclaws.ca, or go to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website. But, the Vehicle Safety and Inspection Standards cannot be accessed for free. This is the manual that Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspectors follow, and it actually is a regulation. In other words, it is a law that must be followed. It is possible to obtain Internet access to this regulation for a $25 annual fee. Go to the B.C. Crown Publications website. I have recently signed up, and I find this to be a very useful tool.

John Drayton is a Kamloops lawyer practicing in the areas of motor transport and forestry law.