Province announces new road safety strategy

Fatalities and overnight hospitalizations due to road incidents decreased over a recent 10-year period. But, the B.C. Southern Interior has most fatalities in B.C., according to new B.C. road safety plan, which aims to make improvements.

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Workers install variable speed sign infrastructure on the Trans-Canada Highway just west of Revelstoke in late 2015. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo

The B.C. government has released a new road safety strategy designed to make roads safer. Called British Columbia Road Safety Strategy: 2015 and Beyond, it seeks to improve “road safety outcomes.”

It’s based on the four guiding principles. They include adopting a “Safe System Approach,” envisioning roads safety as a “collaborative effort,” sustaining programs that work and focusing on new initiatives, and encouraging “innovation and flexibility” among partners.

The 45-page strategy was released on Jan. 29 by the justice ministry.

“The goal of this report was to bring B.C.’s wealth of road safety professionals and experts together to review and renew B.C.’s road safety strategy,” said Superintendent of Motor Vehicles Sam MacLeod in a statement. “This report is an invaluable tool in guiding the future of road safety policy and programs as we work towards our ultimate goal of zero traffic fatalities and zero serious injury crashes.”

According to the report, B.C. roads have generally gotten safer between 2002 and 2011, with a reduction in fatalities and injuries requiring overnight hospitalization. The fatality figure dropped by 36%, despite an increase in vehicles on the road.

The report cites ongoing success in drinking driving reduction, safer passenger cars, better training and licensing programs for young drivers, and improved roadways.
The report says that pedestrians and cyclists have not benefited from the improvements. Pedestrians account for about 20% of all fatalities. Motorcycle fatalities remain flat.

Dangerous driving remains a concern, including speeding, fatigued driving and distracted driving. The rate of fatalities involving heavy vehicles remains the same. In the B.C. Southern Interior, about one third of fatalities involve heavy vehicles.

According to the report, the B.C. Southern Interior has the deadliest roads in B.C., with about 110 fatalities in 2011. However, that number has generally decreased over the decade before, when fatalities peaked at about 170 in 2002.

To learn more, access the report via this link:
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/driving/publications/road-safety-strategy.pdf

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