The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit estimates that 175 crashes happen every day in B.C. (File - Black Press Media)

The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit estimates that 175 crashes happen every day in B.C. (File - Black Press Media)

EDITORIAL: Treat vehicle collisions like a pandemic

COVID-19 has shown behaviour can influence public health outcomes, so be kind, be calm and slow down

Last year on Vancouver Island, there were 41,000 car crashes.

11,000 Islanders were injured in vehicle collisions, and ICBC reported 7,600 “casualty crashes,” which means crashes where a person was either injured or killed.

In B.C. as a whole, there were 295,000 crashes, 92,000 British Columbians were injured, and there were 63,000 casualty crashes. Injuries and fatalities occur across all age groups.

The B.C. Injury Research and Prevention Unit estimates that 175 crashes happen every day in B.C., resulting in one fatality and 10 acute hospitalizations per day.

“Speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving are the leading contributing factors for motor vehicle collisions,” BCIRPU states.

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These actions carry grave consequences – fines, loss of a license, and prison time – still, the behaviours continue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that governments are capable of taking extraordinary measures to combat a crisis. A crucial part of crisis management is effective communication. Though governments worldwide haven’t always succeeded in effectively communicating COVID-19 restrictions, many have held daily press briefings on case counts, hospitalizations, and fatalities.

When people can see the high transmission of COVID in their community, it makes them more cautious. More people wear masks, social distance, and stay home. The BCCDC COVID-19 dashboard displays data daily on both provincial and regional levels.

Why not create an ICBC collision dashboard with the same capabilities? British Columbians could see how many collisions happen in their communities, where they happen, and why they happen. Daily press briefings may not be necessary, but the regular publishing of information may deter dangerous driving.

Children in B.C. are educated on road safety until they graduate high school. Adults are regularly reminded about road safety by public initiatives. Every driver already knows how to increase road safety: slow down, leave your phone alone, and do not get behind the wheel if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Motor vehicle collisions are one of the most significant public health issues in British Columbia and Canada. They don’t have to be.

Incident claims in B.C. dropped sharply during the lockdown period from March 15 to May 2, resulting in $158 million in savings for ICBC. The NDP has committed to issuing an insurance rebate because of the savings.

If drivers start treating collisions like COVID, they can save far more than just money on insurance. They can prevent injuries, and they can save lives.

So, let’s all be kind, be calm, and slow down.

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editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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