VIEWPOINT - Lobbying for Vision Zero
I am concerned about the increased speed limit on high way 19. Unfortunately , there have been 3 fatalities on this divided high way, within the Comox Valley, in the past month. Although I do not regularly drive high way 19, I have observed that too many drivers travel faster than the 120 KPH posted speed limit. Some do not slow down during heavy rains or reduced visibility , treating the posted speed as the minimum.
Many drivers treat speed limits as the minimum and those who drive the limit are often tailgated –this seem to be common practice on most roads. When high way speed limits are increased some drivers add 10 KPH or more and drive even faster. There is little visible enforcement of the speed limit.
As a concerned retired safety professional, I was pleased to find that the Ministry of Justice has a document for Road safety which lists zero fatalities and zero serious injuries as the goal. The Industry that I worked in, had the same goal and achieved it. From My experience It takes constant effort and resources to achieve zero fatal and serious injuries.
I noted in the Ministry document that the Province of Ontario has a much lower fatality rate than BC. Ontario has a maximum speed limit of 100 KPH and dedicated traffic division in their Provincial police force. From my perspective ,these are significant difference from the BC approach.
I have written to Justice Minister Anton on my observations. I was hoping that there are other advocates, such as DriveSmartBC. Would lobby the BC government to be more proactive on vehicle accident prevention.
Vehicle speed seem to be the major factor. There a numerous technologies that would slow down drivers but visible patrol cars are needed to deter distracted and impaired drivers.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on meeting the goal of zero fatalities on BC roads
My opinion is first that zero is too high a goal, roughly 10% of crashes are actually something out of human control, some would be called acts of god, I call it an avalanche or a land slide just for a few examples.
Vision 90% fewer "Crashes" I'm all for as those are human error, somthing preventable with proper training & attitude while operating a motor vehicle. I have tried for years to deal with the government to improve safety on our roads, but as public opinion finds the death/injury toll on our roads & Hwy's as what they call an acceptable reality, for them to keep their freedom of driving is far more important than safety, the majority view it as an "inevitable risk" and the politicians know it's political suicide to go against the majority of public opinion, so none will step up and do the correct thing. A sad reality of politics, they will tell the few that actually know there is a problem they will look into the situation & see what they can do, sounding quite sincere, but I have found it to be total lies by all of them, their paychecks & public image are their most important goal.
It's not that I have given up, it's I have started to catch on, maybe this new government might be better as I will continue to try but with eyes more open as I proceed now is all. The Hwy's speeds in BC are too high, I find now in the 120 km/hr zones most will now drive 130km/hr to 159km/hr as they will only recive a speeding ticket, not an excessive for doing 161km/hr where they would now be towed on the spot, safety doesn't even enter into the equasion for them. I think what is needed is speed cameras, not just photo radar on every Hwy as the technology has improved greatly, coupled with ALPR's and linked into police computers so they can get a heads up of what's headed their way. Speed compliance would soon jump to close to 100%, only the real foolish would try and beat these systems. More police presents would be good, but on some Hwy's there is little safe room in many sections for them to safely do their job, as the other reason for speed cameras, they work 24/7, 365 days a year.
But good luck, I would love to hear what Susan Anton has for a comback, I have found Todd Stone to be a total waste of time, but if you contact him as well I wish you even better luck, I would have more success squeezing blood from a rock than dealing with him, but maybe that's just me.
Submitted by E-mail
I agree with much of the commentary on speed cameras and am extremely disappointed that political philosophy is a higher priority than preventing fatalities and serious injuries on BC roads. I mentioned the differences in the Province of Ontario, but Quebec also has a lower fatality rate than BC. Quebec has it’s own Provincial police force as does Ontario, so I’m wondering if this is not a significant factor . It seems that the RCMP resources have been stretched with National Security,and other issues. Surely – speed detection technology should be employed on high crash sites where RCMP resources are not available.
I worked for a Canadian Multinational company. Every Industrial site was accountable to head office, for the prevention of fatal and serious injuries. Who is accountable in BC?
The difference in approach between Ontario and BC, is 100 British Columbians deaths a year, on BC Roads.
My perception is different, in some respects.
I've been travelling the Island Highway, and particularly the section between Nanaimo and Courtenay, for many years; both on business, and to visit relatives who live in Courtenay.
It's unfortunate that there have been 3 fatalities on that section recently. But what was the cause? Were these three separate crashes, each of which was determined to be caused by speed in excess of 110 km/h (the previous limit)? Or were they the result of one terrible crash, where the driver was determined to have been impaired? And if the former, were the 3 fatalities a blip in the graph, so to speak, or can it be extrapolated from this that there are an average of 36 fatalities a year in that area - and if so, is this an increase, or a decrease, from when the highway had a 110 km/h limit?
There has to be a relationship between cause and effect, as it were. I may not be using the right term, there, but hopefully you will get my drift.
That there are drivers travelling faster than the posted 120 km/h limit is nothing new; that's how it generally is in on BC highways, in my experience. And it doesn't matter much where they set the limits, some drivers will exceed them. But to say that many treat the posted speed limit as the minimum is surely an exaggeration.
As for drivers who drive the limit being tailgated, I'm seeing much less of this since the legislation was changed (along with signage and road markings) requiring them to move over, or stay right unless passing. Particularly on Hwy 99, the Sea-to-Sky Vancouver/Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton corridor, drivers are clearly showing much greater discipline in this regard.
It's funny you should mention 'little visible enforcement' of the limit; my own observation of Hwy 19 is that there will be at least one county mountie, either lying in wait, or busy handing over a ticket to somebody, every time I drive between Nanaimo and Courtenay. They may not be nailing every individual who reaches 121 km/h, but to me it's risky to push it much beyond that, the police presence always seems, uh, present somewhere along there.
Oftentimes, if I've got the time, I like to use the old Hwy 19A along the coast. It's much more interesting and scenic, and due to the lack of traffic more enjoyable than back in the 80s when it was the only way up island. Statistically, though, it's a much more dangerous route despite overall lower speed limits! Check out this item I dug up from a Global report using ICBC statistics.
And you (or at least me) never seem to see radar along Hwy 19A these days, so there you go. Or not.
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Project Zero is laudable, and like motherhood and apple pie, impossible to argue against. Yes, there is always room for improvement in the area of safety, be it road traffic, air, rail or marine, but nothing in this world is risk free, and any politician trying to sell such disinformation is well, just a typical politician I'm afraid.
The 120 kph speed limit on some B.C. highways has been much criticized, yet ministry of transport data show that the 85th percentile speed has not changed on the Coquihalla in years; it's still 127 kph. Drivers are not driving faster as was feared, they are still driving at the design speed of the road which is what drivers do in most of the world. 120 kph speed limits on divided four lane highways are not a safety issue. Uneducated drivers are our safety issue, and one which the governments of many western countries, ours included, fail to address because it's too politically difficult.
I see drivers every day who don't shoulder check, much less glance in their mirror, before changing lanes. Drivers who accelerate for an amber light or don't even decelerate for a stop sign! They're not speeding, just oblivious to what is going on around their vehicle. How is it that ICBC grants drivers licenses to people like this? And the gevernment's response? Harsher speeding penalties, that will solve everything, which is just what they know most of the public will believe and accept without a critical second thought.
Project Zero is a very politically marketable, but unachievable goal given current methods being employed by our B.C. government. Perhaps someday, Susanne Anton will actually get serious about traffic safety. so far it's mostly photo ops and window dressing.
Do you know what time Todd Stone sent his personal staff (engineers?) to measure the speed for 2 hours to come up with the average speed being 127 km/hr on the Coquihalla Hwy? Or were they just counting the semi's?
Me along with many drivers that live & drive the Hwy regularly have reported & witnessed that statment of 127 km/hr to be a 100% total lie. And the 5 kms from the south entrance of the Hwy where they measure the 85th %tile from can have it's own micro climate to top it off, was it raining as it often does there? In my car I drove the Hwy many times in the summer so I could stay at a steady 120 km/hr, if 127 km/hr was the average speed, I would have had a slow trickle of vehicles passing me at little more than a fast walking pace. Instead what I and many witness (semi's not included) is a continuous flow of traffic past me at more of an avaerage that had to be 135 km/hr, many even faster, I had many fly past me at what had to be close to 160 km/hr and even the odd one faster than that. And me like the many others that reported never saw anyone getting a ticket or any sign of police every time we drive that hwy the entire length in both directions.
This is 2016, why not update to a new way of measuring the speed of all vehicles for a week or month straight with cameras, the data could be checked not only by day but by the hour, rather than the totally outdated 85th Percentile which was brought about in 1964 when not only less vehicles were on our roads, but when ethics still had some validity compared to todays fast paced distracted drivers. You also claim, which I agree, is very many poor drivers, you even wonder how they got their licence, so isn't it insane to base the speed limits on all these poor & uneducated drivers by using the ancient 85th percentile? They aren't safe & reasonable drivers, they are poor drivers that survive by the simple truth of human nature & self preservation, nothing to do with the 85th percentile!
And as Transport Canada still doesn't have proper data to compare what the speed increase since 2014 has had & what effect, and they seem to be stalling reporting it, as they told me in spring first and yet still nothing, I can only go by what the huge increase the ambulances have reported,but we will find out.