Two comparable incidents in less than 36 hours have drawn attention to collisions involving pedestrians and vehicles, as crashes hit an all-time in British Columbia with 350,000 in 2017.
Crews carried an 82-year-old Saanich woman to hospital Wednesday afternoon to treat her for non-life-threatening injuries after a vehicle had struck her at the intersection of Quadra Street and Hulford Street.
The driver, a 29-year-old Victoria woman, started to go and hit the pedestrian, who had entered the crosswalk, said Sgt. Jereme Leslie of the Saanich Police. Leslie said the driver’s field of vision was obstructed.
Little more than 24 hours earlier, 93-year-old Saanich woman received non-life threatening injuries after a 19-year-old woman from Surrey, B.C. had backed out of a parking spot at University Heights mall.
“In both cases, we completed reports for ICBC listing the drivers as the primary offenders,” said Leslie. Neither driver though received a ticket, and neither case involved distracted driving, he said.
While the parallels between both cases might be coincidental, they are nonetheless instructive.
Seventy-six per cent of crashes involving pedestrians in British Columbia happen at intersections. About one in five people killed in car crashes in British Columbian are pedestrians, and 2,500 pedestrians suffer injures because of crashes every year.
Perhaps the most serious local incident happened in late 2017 when a vehicle struck 11-year-old Leila Bui at an Ash Road intersection, while she was crossing the street on the way to school. She is currently recovering at home in an “unresponsive state” following several rounds of surgery and extensive hospital stay.
Top contributing factors include weather, failure of drivers to yield right of way, and driver distraction.
“With crashes at an all-time high at 960 a day [across British Columbia], we’re pleading with all drivers to their part to make our roads safer,” said Joanna Linsangan, a spokesperson for ICBC. “And with most crashes involving pedestrians occurring at intersections, it’s a strong reminder for both pedestrians and drivers to be vigilant when travelling through those areas.”
That figure of 960 daily crashes emerged out of crash statistics released this month. They show that British Columbia recorded 350,000 crashes in 2017 — a historic record that is up six per cent from 2016 and 25 per cent from 2014. That means one out of 10 drivers could cause a crash this year.
A lack of driving experience generally account for less serious crashes, while speeding, distractions, and impaired driving account for the more serious crashes leading to injuries and death.
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s interim vice-president responsible for road safety, said every driver has a personal responsibility to keep roads safe for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. “Not only will safer driving help to reduce crashes, it helps to ensure that customers are paying the lowest possible amount for their premiums,” she said.
The release of the crash statistics
A new survey by Insights West for ICBC’s Drive Smart road safety campaign reveals that bad driving habits remain pervasive. The majority (75 per cent) of respondents admitted to displaying bad driving habits on the road.
Looking at larger regions, Vancouver Island saw its number of crashes rise to 46,000 in 2017 — up from 44,000 in 2016 and 35,000 in 2013. The island’s five year average was 41,000.
Regional statistics are not currently available, but the Saanich News has requested additional information.