October worst month for crashes
200 injuries, one death every day 'completely unacceptable'
The top accident location in the province is Highway 1 and Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby, according to new statistics from police and ICBC.
Matthew Ramsey, The Province
Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Two minutes from now, somebody in B.C. will crash his car.
Over the next 24 hours, there will be about 700 motor vehicle accidents, resulting in about 200 injuries and one death.
"That's completely unacceptable and something we can improve on," says Solicitor-General John Les.
The Insurance Corp. of B.C., along with police and the provincial government, launched the third-annual Zero Crash Month initiative yesterday in an effort to cut down the terrible human toll taken on B.C. roads.
The project challenges individuals and communities to pledge to be more responsible while driving, riding and walking.
To prove their point about the effect of even a moderate-speed crash, organizers of the initiative hoisted and dropped a car from 17 metres above a PNE parking lot.
Travelling about 60 km/hour at impact, the engine compartment of the Chevrolet Cavalier pancaked to the front wheels. The ground shook. In the front passenger seat, a crash-test dummy was hurled forward, its head ending up jammed against the smashed windshield, its arm hooked behind the steering wheel.
Watching from a safe distance was Stephanie Cadieux, 33.
Unlike the dummy, Cadieux was wearing her seatbelt 15 years ago when the pickup truck she was a passenger in rolled off a Washington state road. Cadieux can't recall exactly what happened in those "few terrifying seconds," and so she is mercifully spared the memory of her spine breaking.
She figures she was thrown through the back window of the truck.
Cadieux woke up in hospital.
"Unable to move, I realized I was paralyzed," she said.
Cadieux was an incomplete quadriplegic. She was 18, a student at Simon Fraser University, and up until the accident an active and athletic young woman. In hospital, blinking against the bright lights of the room, she couldn't feed herself, hug her family or even wipe away her tears.
"I was completely dependent," she said. She lived in hospital for nine months.
"And then I went home and the real work started."
Now the director of marketing and public relations for the B.C. Paraplegic Association, Cadieux sees the impact of car crashes every day.
"Injuries like mine affect every aspect of your life," she said. "I have to plan every aspect of my life. There is no spontaneity anymore. Please take this opportunity to pledge to drive safely."
Vancouver police Deputy Chief Bob Rich said police will target intersection safety and look for drivers not wearing seatbelts.
More British Columbians are killed in car accidents than in violent crimes, Rich said, and October is typically the most dangerous month for crashes. ICBC predicts at least 22,000 British Columbians will be involved in crashes next month. Six thousand will be injured.
In the first two years of the Zero Crash Month initiative, ICBC estimates the number of crashes for the month decreased by between one and five per cent.
- - -
40% OF FATAL CRASHES WERE CAUSED BY SPEEDING
The predicted number of crashes and injuries for October in Lower Mainland communities with the worst records per capita last year:
Vancouver 4,709 946
West Vancouver 454 54
Maple Ridge 589 141
New Westminster 558 118
North Vancouver 1,117 208
Port Coquitlam 554 120
Port Moody 269 51
Abbotsford 1005 246
Bowen Island 26 3
Burnaby 1,943 415
Coquitlam 1,134 213
Richmond 1,492 291
Top 10 crash locations
Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Here's a simple equation any commuter will verify when searching for a clear route home -- more cars equal more crashes.
Lower Mainland streets, bridges and intersections are the top 50 crash locations in B.C for 2005. ICBC stats show 32,000 additional cars registered in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley in 2005 over 2004. In Greater Vancouver alone, the average annual increase in the number of vehicles jamming streets is about 28,000.
Here are the top 10 locations where all that metal comes into crunching contact. Totals were recorded from January to mid-September 2005.
RANK TOTAL LOCATION CITY
1. 300 Highway 1 & Willingdon Avenue Burnaby
2. 278 Mid-section of Knight Street Bridge Richmond
3. 262 Knight Street & S.E. Marine Drive Vancouver
4. 240 North section of Lions Gate Bridge North Vancouver
5. 213 Brunette Avenue & Highway 1 Coquitlam
6. 206 Lougheed Highway & Shaughnessy Port Coquitlam
7. 206 Boundary Road & Kingsway Burnaby & Vancouver
8. 199 88th Avenue & King George Highway Surrey
9. 189 Mid-section of Alex Fraser Bridge Delta
10. 184 North section of Port Mann Bridge Coquitlam