B.C. government, ICBC and police focus on high-risk driving

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Campaign targets failing to yield at intersections

Vancouver, B.C. (May 6, 2015) – We’ve all likely seen a crash nearly happen – a driver who didn’t allow enough time and space to make a left-hand turn safely or a driver who didn’t yield to a pedestrian or cyclist in a driveway. While some may think these driving behaviours are harmless, failing to yield is one of the top high-risk behaviours that lead to crashes every day on B.C. roads.

High-risk driving, which includes failing to yield, speeding, following too closely and ignoring a traffic control device, contributes to almost half (44 per cent) of all police-reported crashes that result in injuries or fatalities each year in B.C.*

In response, ICBC and police have launched a month long high-risk driving campaign at an intersection in Vancouver where a mock crash was set-up to show the consequences of underestimating the time it takes to make a left-hand turn safely.

“Crashes due to high-risk driving can have devastating consequences for victims,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “The good news is that they are preventable if drivers take care on our roads. Every day there are many situations where drivers need to yield to another vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist. That is why we’re asking drivers to focus on the road, to be patient, and to think before proceeding, especially at intersections.”

Determining if it’s safe to make a left-hand turn at an intersection is not always easy. Drivers need to consider the speed of oncoming traffic, the time it will take to cross each lane and accelerate to the speed of traffic.

“As the weather improves, motorists can expect to find themselves sharing the road with more motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Use caution, be aware of other road users, and stay focused on the road.”

Police will be stepping up enforcement during the month of May targeting all high-risk driving behaviours including failing to yield, speeding, following too closely and ignoring a traffic control device.

“High-risk driving behaviours such as tailgating, failing to yield or speeding have no place on our roadways,” said Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Drivers have to be responsible for their actions, pay attention and focus on driving. As police officers, we see the heartbreaking effects that result from bad driving behaviours – we will be out in full-force across the province to let you know that we are serious about reducing these senseless crashes that are so easily prevented.”

“We’re asking drivers not to underestimate the time and space required to make a left-hand turn safely,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Don’t panic if the light turns yellow while you’re waiting to make a left-hand turn. You’re legally allowed to complete your turn if you’re already in the intersection, but watch for approaching vehicles, especially for drivers trying to beat the red light.”

The high-risk driving campaign aims to change driver attitudes and behaviours.

take time for a safe left

Yielding and Intersection Safety Tips from ICBC

  • When making a left-hand turn at an intersection controlled by traffic lights, don’t rush, yield to oncoming traffic, including cyclists and motorcyclists, as well as pedestrians. Don’t panic if the light turns yellow while you’re waiting to make a left-hand turn. You’re legally allowed to complete your turn if you’re already in the intersection, but watch for approaching vehicles, especially for drivers trying to beat the red light.
  • To determine whether the gap in traffic is enough to allow for a safe left-hand turn, consider the speed of oncoming vehicles, the time it will take to complete the turn and accelerate to the speed of traffic.
  • If there is any doubt about who has the right-of-way or if there is any chance of a crash, it’s always better to yield to the other person.
  • Always yield to pedestrians and follow directions from crossing guards and traffic control people.
  • When crossing a bike lane to turn right or to pull to the side of the road, be sure to signal well ahead and yield to cyclists.
  • Always yield to emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights and sirens. All traffic moving in both directions must stop. (Exception: if you’re on a divided highway and the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the median, you may not need to stop.)

Regional Statistics*

  • In the Lower Mainland, an average of 3,500 casualty crashes occur each year as a result of high-risk driving.
  • On Vancouver Island, an average of 1,200 casualty crashes occur each year as a result of high-risk driving.
  • In North Central B.C., an average of 550 casualty crashes occur each year as a result of high-risk driving.
  • In the Southern Interior, an average of 1,300 casualty crashes occur each year as a result of high-risk driving.

Notes

* Averages based on police-reported data 2009-2013.

About ICBC

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is a provincial Crown corporation that provides universal auto insurance (Autoplan) to B.C. motorists. ICBC works with a distributed network of over 900 licensed independent Autoplan brokers, providing them with the necessary tools and resources to help customers choose the right insurance protection for them and their vehicles. For more information, visit www.icbc.com.

SOURCE: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)