A high speed rear-end crash closed southbound traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway and sent five people to hospital in July. There have been more than 160 accidents between June and August, according to the West Shore RCMP. (Photo courtesy of View Royal Fire)

West Shore RCMP sees spike in car crashes in recent months

ICBC campaign puts onus on drivers to fix bad habits

Local authorities are urging residents to drive safe and know the rules of the road after a spike in car crashes throughout the West Shore in recent months.

According to the West Shore RCMP, officers have responded to more than 160 accidents between June and August, ranging from simple fender benders to severe accidents with injuries.

“I want the public to understand they have a role in keeping our roads safe,” Const. Matt Baker said. “Police can’t rely solely on enforcement to change driver behaviour, everyone has to be pro-active and do their part to keep our roads safe.”

This year, in an effort to reduce the number of crashes throughout the province, including the western communities, ICBC rolled out its KnowYourPartBC road safety campaign, which puts the onus on drivers to know the rules of the road and look out for the overall safety of other road users.

“We all have a part to keep our roads as safe as possible. We really wanted to reach out to drivers themselves because we want them to know they are part of the solution. We all share the road, whether it’s other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclist,” ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan said.

“Police can’t be there at every single intersection monitoring our behaviour, which is why we’re asking drivers to take it upon themselves to do things to be safer.”

RELATED: 40% of B.C. drivers fail ICBC refresher

One of the ways drivers can make roads safer is by taking part in the recently released Drive Smart Refresher Test, an online quiz with 20 questions that targets people who have held their driver’s license for several years or even decades.

So far more than 80,000 British Columbians have taken the test. Results show many residents were unclear about what to do around emergency vehicles, on signage specific to crosswalks and school zones, and following distance.

In addition to taking the test, Linsangan said residents need to be mindful while driving and kick bad habits, such as rolling through stop signs, speeding and making a left hand turn on a red light in an intersection, in order to reduce crashes on local roads.

“Not only are they bad habits but they’re against the law. If people continue to roll the dice and break the rules of the road, eventually that incident will lead to a crash and could cause injury to themselves or somebody else on the road,” she said. “It’s about being aware of your role when you’re on the road.”

According to ICBC, the number of crashes in B.C. peaked in 2017, with 350,000 crashes happening in the year, or 960 a day. The total cost of claims in 2017 was $4.8 billion, equivalent to $13 million a day.

To take the refresher test visit icbc.com/drivesmart.

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