Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

As British Columbians ramp up to enjoy the final weekend of summer holidays, drivers are encouraged to stay safe and stay alert when behind the wheel. ICBC anticipates as many as 2,000 crashes to occur this long weekend. About six people are killed and 520 people are injured every Labour Day long weekend.

Drivers should expect more volume on highways and roads with people taking their final summer road trip.

ICBC warns drivers to watch for drowsy drivers and to look out for symptoms of fatigue in themselves. According to drivers participating in a recent poll* by ICBC, more than half (55%) reported to being tired at least some of the time when travelling long distances.

Drowsiness can cause drivers to lose focus, slow their reaction time, impair their vision, and affect their ability to make good driving decisions.

Warning signs:

  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Inconsistent speed
  • Erratic braking
  • Missing an exit or turn
  • Frequent yawning
  • Frequent blinking
  • Loss of concentration

How to protect yourself:

  • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested and alert the next day.

  • Travel in the morning. Sleepiness can affect people throughout the day, but drivers are prone to drowsy driving in the late-afternoon and late at night when the body’s circadian rhythm dips.**

  • Take frequent breaks. Schedule a break at least once every two hours. Use this time to send an update to family and friends, or to check road conditions. There are currently two rest areas that have free Wi-Fi – the Britton Creek stop on the Coquihalla near Merritt, and the Glacier View rest area on Highway 16 near Smithers.

  • Share the driving with others. Split the responsibility to get to your destination safely with other drivers in your vehicle.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead by visiting drivebc.ca for the latest road conditions.

Regional statistics***:

  • 390 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 51 people are injured in 270 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 63 people are injured in 310 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 16 people are injured in 120 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.

Labour Day crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

*Long weekend survey with ICBC Customer Advisory Panel, 1087 total respondents, May 2017
** Source: Transport Canada
***Fatality data is police data based on five year average (2011 to 2015). Crash and injury data is ICBC data from 2015.

Media contact

Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480

ICBC asking drivers & parents to keep children safe as school returns

ICBC asking drivers & parents to keep children safe as school returns

With children returning to school next week, B.C. roads will be busier than ever. ICBC is asking drivers to give themselves extra travel time so they aren’t rushing and to avoid any distractions. Drivers need to be focused on the road and watch for children, especially in or around school zones.

Every year, 370 children are injured in crashes while walking, cycling or skateboarding and six are killed throughout the province.*

Police and Speed Watch volunteers will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones across the province to help children get a safe start to the school year.

Every year, 72 children are injured in crashes in school and playground zones in B.C.

Parents are encouraged to review the rules of the road with their children and go over their daily route to and from school.

Tips for drivers:

  • Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • When you’re dropping off your children in school zones, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.

  • If a vehicle’s stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.

  • Watch for school buses. Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.

Tips for parents and kids:

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, four children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 253 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 42 children are injured every year.

  • On Vancouver Island, two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 55 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 11 children are injured every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 43 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 13 children are injured every year.

  • In North Central B.C., two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 16 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, six children are injured every year.

ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students from kindergarten to grade 10 learn about road safety topics unique to their grade level using fun and interactive activities.

*Notes about the data:

Children defined as aged five to 18. Crash and injury averages based on 2011 to 2015 data reported by ICBC. Fatal average based on 2010 to 2014 police-reported data. School/playground zone injury statistics based on police data from 2010 to 2014 (five year average).

Pedestrian includes a person in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy. This includes rollerblades, a skateboard, scooter, unicycle or similar wheeled device.

Media contact:

Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759

182 motorists caught speeding in work zones during July Traffic Safety Spotlight

News release:

182 motorists caught speeding in work zones during July Traffic Safety Spotlight

Aug. 28, 2017

July was another busy month for law enforcement as they focused on catching drivers speeding in both municipal and highway work zones. During the monthly Traffic Safety Spotlight, 182 tickets were issued in construction zones, all related to speeding1:

  • 177 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h while passing highway workers or occupied highway equipment within a work zone
  • 5 tickets for speeding in construction zones where a flag person is present

As there are still many road construction projects across the province, SGI reminds motorists to obey speed limits and exercise caution when driving in work zones. If the work zone is signed, drivers must slow to the posted speed limits, regardless of whether workers are present. Base fines for speeding in a construction zone are triple that of a regular speeding ticket.

Other results from July’s Traffic Safety Spotlight:

  • 5,514 tickets for speeding or aggressive driving
  • 522 tickets for inappropriate or no seatbelt/child restraint
  • 462 tickets for distracted driving (including 337 for cellphone use)
  • 382 impaired driving offences (including 327 Criminal Code charges)

Follow SGI on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for tips on how to #TakeCareOutThere with other road users.

Learn more about work zones and speeding.

Like many things in life, success often depends on preparation as much as it does on the delivery.

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Why is Everyone in the Left Lane?

More and more often when I drive on a busy highway I’m finding much of the traffic jammed into the left lane, each driver trying unsuccessfully to get ahead of the others. One would think that this situation would be akin to being the proverbial kid in the candy store for anyone in traffic law enforcement, violations everywhere! Slower traffic failing to keep right, following too closely, unsafe lane change, cross single solid line, failing to signal lane change and, depending on your point of view, the root cause of much of this: attempting to exceed the speed limit.

No one likes a left lane blocker. This statement is not proven by enforcement activity however. There were a grand total of 24 tickets written under section 150(2) MVA in the entire province for failing to move right in 2015. We’ll see if anything has changed with the introduction of section 151.1 MVA when I receive ticket data for 2016 from ICBC.

If you missed it, this is the new law requiring that you exit the leftmost lane when another vehicle approaches from behind when you are driving on highways with a posted speed of 80 km/h or higher and traffic is moving at a speed of at least 50 km/h. There are exemptions to this, no need to move over if you are using an HOV lane, preparing for a left turn, passing another vehicle, allowing someone to merge, or following the slow down, move over law.

When I worked traffic enforcement I always saw following too closely as the greater evil when compared to failing to move over. This may be the prevailing view because there were 2,400 tickets for this written to the drivers of light vehicles and 34 to drivers of commercial vehicles in 2015. The driver in front was often already driving faster than the posted speed limit and that indicated to me that the tailgater was trying to go faster still. No sense hanging back at a safe distance and hoping the driver in front will move over, is there?

Crossing a single solid white line to change lanes is forbidden. Those who are trying to get ahead using the HOV lane are frequent violators. They will move out of the HOV lane, pass on the right using the leftmost or “fast” lane and then move back into the HOV lane again. About 1,800 of these violation tickets were issued in 2015.

Please, tell me that you are going to change lanes by using your signal light, preferably in advance of doing it. A defensive driver always signals, even when they think that they are the only vehicle on the road. 1,800 tickets were issued to those that failed in this task in 2015.

That leaves us with speeding. Speed related charges amounted to 163,213 in 2015, That’s almost 37% of all tickets issued that year. This is a reduction compared to 2014 where 176,320 or about 39% of tickets were for speeding in some form.

Perhaps it’s time to let automated enforcement deal with some of those speeding tickets and have the police refocus their attention on dangerous behaviours that need to be dealt with in person.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

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