Friday, May 15, 2009

Slow Down Drive Safely Drivers Urged

Month-long campaign targets
speeders and high-risk drivers

The Province, ICBC and police remind drivers to slow down


As drivers head out for the May long weekend, the Province, ICBC and police are urging everyone to slow down and drive safely. The month-long campaign coincides with Canada’s Road Safety Week (May 12-18) and includes enhanced speed enforcement, volunteer Speed Watch deployments in high-crash locations, and advertising in communities across the province.

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, there is an annual average of 80 speed-related collisions, 60 injuries and two deaths in B.C. (2003-2007 police data).

“ER physicians see the tragic consequences of speeding on a first hand basis, all too frequently,” said Dr. Roy Purssell of the BC Medical Association’s Council on Health Promotion. “We know that speed kills. We also know simply staying within the speed limit and paying attention to driving conditions will reduce the number of car crashes and the number of tragic consequences.”

In an average year in B.C., 8,200 speed-related collisions cause 5,500 injuries and 161 deaths (2003-2007 police data). This year, ICBC is investing $1.36 million for speed-related initiatives to reduce crashes, injuries and save lives, which means low and stable rates for customers.

“Speeding is the cause of too many senseless deaths and injuries every year in B.C.,” said Superintendent Norm Gaumont, RCMP's “E” division traffic services. “The reason is simple –the faster you go, the longer it takes for you to stop. So slow down and enjoy your long weekend. The added bonus is you'll also avoid a ticket.”

Fines for speeding range from $138 to $483. Drivers who have one or more excessive speeding convictions on or after January 1, 2008, also pay ICBC a Driver Risk Premium (DRP), which is separate from insurance premiums. In addition to fines, drivers who speed can also face a variety of sanctions, including driving prohibitions. Under B.C. street racing laws, a vehicle used to street race can also be impounded on the spot and the driver’s licence can be suspended immediately. Drivers who street race can also face charges under Canada’s Criminal Code and could have their vehicles forfeited and sold under civil forfeiture laws.

Drivers are reminded of these tips:
  • Plan ahead and be realistic about travel times. Allow extra time for possible delays that may occur, especially over the long weekend.
  • Follow other vehicles at a safe distance. Allow at least two seconds of following distance in good weather and road conditions, and at least three seconds on high-speed roads or if you’re behind a motorcycle since it has a much shorter stopping distance.
  • Slow down, especially on wet roads, in bad weather conditions or uneven roads. Always slow down in construction, playground and school zones and follow the posted speed limits.
  • If a collision seems unavoidable, steer to the right. Head towards the least harmful option, preferably an object that will give way on impact, such as a bush. The most harmful option is a head-on crash, where the force of the impact is doubled.
  • Set a good example for your children and other drivers by being courteous and safe on the road.
For more information and tips, visit www.icbc.com.

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