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Behind-the-Wheel

Fancy running into you here

The latest edition of ICBC's Quick Statistics proves once again that speed kills.

So does impaired driving and distracted driving.

The new rounded data Quick Statistics contains is for 2016 and that year there were 330,000 collisions reported where 64,000 resulted in either injury or fatality.

Over all, collision rates have steadily increased from 2011 to 2016.

After browsing through the document, I see that ICBC issued 3,370,000 Autoplan and temporary policies. At first glance, that's about one collision for every 10 vehicles during the year. (If you want to do the research and the math, I'll let you refine and justify that number.)

288 people died, down seven from 2015, but still above the five-year average of 285. To be included in these numbers, a motor vehicle had to be involved and the incident had to take place on a public road.

Collisions involving only cyclists or cyclists and pedestrians are not tracked, possibly because there is no Autoplan claim involved.

Obviously, we run into each other a lot and many people are hurt, some fatally.

If you're interested, the crash involvement lists animals (11,000), cyclists (2,100), heavy vehicles (15,000), hit and run (54,000), motorcycles (2,600) and pedestrians (3,100).

Despite many years of education and enforcement, 58 fatal victims were not wearing their seatbelt. By now, you would think that everyone knew how to wear a seatbelt properly and that it must always be used to prevent being out of place when the airbag deploys.

Intersections are dangerous places as about one third of collisions occur there. Crash maps are available for the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Southern Interior and the North Central region intersections in B.C.

Why are these crashes happening?

ICBC attributes them to five broad reasons:

  • speed
  • impaired driving
  • distracted driving
  • high risk driving
  • driving too fast for conditions.

For fatal crashes, speed is the primary contributing factor in 30 per cent of them, followed by distracted driving at 28 per cent and impaired driving at 22 per cent.

High-risk driving behaviour includes failing to yield right of way, following too closely, ignoring a traffic control device, improper passing and speed.

Our government announced the move toward a Vision Zero model for reducing collisions in January 2016. The introduction explains:

British Columbia’s goal is to have the safest roads in North America by 2020. In line with the Vision Zero movement, the ultimate goal is to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries.

The British Columbia vision will be achieved by:

  • targeting key areas of concern
  • advancing the Safe System Approach
  • continuing with the implementation of the BC Road Safety Strategy
  • enhancing road safety research capacity in the province.

Improved communication and engagement with all British Columbia citizens, particularly local communities, stakeholders, and First Nations, is essential for moving toward Vision Zero.

   

Better road safety is not achieved by accident; it is created through deliberate, innovative, and evidence — driven practices.

Step by step, kilometre by kilometre, British Columbia’s roads can be made safer for everyone.

The responsibility for reducing these significant numbers ultimately lies with you and me. A great place to start would be a return to an attitude of respect for each other when we share the highway.

Otherwise, we'll continue to say "fancy running into you here!"

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/collisions/fancy-running-you-here

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More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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