July 26, 2005 — Motorists have likely heard the message to slow down, but now they’re being reminded to calm down. That’s what Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and the Vancouver Police, along with municipal forces, RCMP, and Speed Watch volunteers are encouraging drivers to do.
According to police statistics, unsafe speed was a contributing factor in 35 per cent of all fatal car crashes in B.C. in 2003, killing 160 people. Another 6,100 people were injured in unsafe- speed-related crashes in the province that year.
Tragically, in 2003 in Greater Vancouver alone, police reported that 20 people were killed and 1,160 people were injured in vehicle crashes due to unsafe speed and aggressive driving.
“When drivers combine unsafe speed with other aggressive driving behaviours like unsafe lane changes, following too closely or running red lights, the consequences can be deadly,” says ICBC Greater Vancouver Region Vice President, Lidi Holler. “Rather than getting you to your destination faster, speeding and aggressive driving can result in injury or death. These drivers represent a serious risk to other drivers, as well as to cyclists and pedestrians.”
ICBC is launching a public awareness campaign that provides tips to avoid aggressive driving behaviour and encourages drivers to take a moment to chill, breathe, and reconsider their actions.
The objective of the campaign is to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and crashes through the combined efforts of the campaign partners and a mix of education, engineering and enforcement.
That’s why police will be on the lookout for speeders and aggressive drivers this summer, implementing a maximum use of radar and laser call set-ups to target known problem areas.
“This is becoming an increasing priority for the Vancouver Police Department,” says Department spokesperson Constable Tim Fanning. “We have to do everything we can to reduce the carnage. Aggressive driving is unacceptable. Remember, driving in B.C. is a privilege, not a right.”
In association with the Police Enforcement, Speed Watch Volunteer groups will also be out in communities across the Greater Vancouver region. The Speed Watch program is designed to help reduce speed-related crashes by making drivers more aware of the actual speed they are travelling at.
“Speeding and aggressive driving are behaviours we criticize in other drivers,” suggests Holler. “However, when we do it, we tend to justify it. It doesn’t matter if your intentions are good or bad, the consequences are the same, deadly ones. There is no such thing as safe speeding.”
ICBC encourages people to remember the following tips to avoid becoming an aggressive driver:
Be realistic about your travel time. Factor in possible delays due to traffic, construction, and weather.
If you’re going to be later than you had hoped, take a deep breath and accept the delay. Better to arrive late than not at all.
Set an example to other drivers and to your children; practice courtesy.
Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. They may be from out of town, in a hurry, or distracted.
Slow down and keep your distance.
For more information about road safety and driving in B.C., visit www.icbc.com.
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