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Valley News: Let's Reduce Accidents, Injuries This Long Weekend – Shirley Bond
Shirley Bond, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is urging motorists to drive defensively, stay alert and avoid drinking and driving this B.C. Day long weekend.
The recent spate of pedestrian and flagger fatalities and injuries has highlighted the fact that not only motorists are vulnerable. Defensive driving, which includes obeying the speed limit, coming to a full stop, adjusting driving habits to prevailing conditions, and staying alert can reduce motor vehicle crashes significantly.
“We want B.C families to have enjoyable summer vacations, but we want them to get home safely, too. When you get behind the wheel it’s important to be alert, slow down and take regular breaks.” – Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Shirley Bond
Over the past five years, there have been 1,950 crashes, 540 injuries and three fatalities over the B.C. Day long weekend throughout the province. Speed and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs are two of the greatest contributors to the province’s roadside fatalities. Each year, 350 people die on B.C. roads, with 127 people losing their lives in alcohol- or drug-related crashes.
Throughout the summer, police will target a number of dangerous driving behaviours. It is imperative that people who drink have a designated driver to take them home or arrange for public transit or a taxi. During summer, the combination of hot days and long drives create a dangerous cocktail, often resulting in driver fatigue, which slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. Each year, driver fatigue results in 20 fatalities and 690 injuries in B.C. These statistics are probably much higher as driver fatigue is under-reported and fatigue is notoriously difficult to measure
* Alcohol affects people in different ways due to diet, fatigue or drinking habits. You can be legally impaired even with a blood alcohol content below 0.05.
* Impairment from drugs is the same as alcohol, and carries the same penalties. Drugs can affect reaction time and decision-making abilities in the same way as alcohol.
* Remember to drive according to the conditions of the road. Wet roads can affect how a vehicle operates – such as increasing braking time, and can cause tires to lose traction or contact with the pavement.
* In B.C. it is illegal to use a hand-held electronic device while driving unless a hands-free system is used.
* Police catch about 10,000 excessive speeders annually.
Learn More: To check weather and road conditions before setting off on your journey, visit: drivebc.comFor more information on road safety, visit: http://www.icbc.com/road-safety