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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2014JAG0317-001741
November 19, 2014
Ministry of Justice
#justdrive and save a life on B.C.’s roads

VICTORIA – 269 British Columbians lost their lives last year on our roads. The year before, 280 people died in vehicle collisions. Today, the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, is a day we honour their memories and a day that we commit to being part of the solution.

Today, government is asking British Columbians to #justdrive when they are behind the wheel and make safe choices on the road. Don’t speed. Put your phone down. Use a designated driver. The vast majority of road crashes are preventable with some caution, foresight and patience, but it takes a commitment from all of us.

The top three contributing factors to motor vehicle fatalities in B.C. are speed, distraction, and alcohol and drugs. Of the 269 people killed in the last year in British Columbia, speed was a contributing factor in 78 deaths, distracted driving in 77, and alcohol and drugs in 63. And that doesn’t account for the hundreds and thousands of family members and friends who suffered – and are still suffering – that loss.

It’s time for a change. Take to Twitter today and share your commitment – or your story – with us about why you’re choosing to #justdrive.

Quotes:

Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton –

“Put your phone down and help save a life. Leave home five minutes earlier and help save a life. They seem like such simple decisions, but yet too many people are still paying the ultimate price on our roads as a result of unsafe driving. I am going to speak with my family about how we need to #justdrive when we’re behind the wheel and I hope British Columbians will do the same with theirs.”

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone –

“So many crashes could be prevented – they happen because drivers make bad choices, such as speeding, trying to text or talk on a cell while driving, or drinking and driving. If you plan ahead and make safe choices, you can save a life – it might be yours, it might be your family member, or it might be a complete stranger. The more that drivers concentrate on the road and #justdrive, the more they are part of the solution.”

Dr. Perry Kendall, provincial health officer –

“We have known for many years that driving while intoxicated causes far too many avoidable deaths and injuries. We are now at a point where speed and distracted driving are each causing more crashes and deaths than impaired driving. It is time for us to view driving while distracted as equally as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I encourage all British Columbians to slow down, put away their cell phones, use a designated driver, and ensure they get home safely.”

Janice James, bereavement counsellor –

"Having spent time with those that have lost loved ones in fatal collisions, and in my work with Victim Services, I can say it is life changing not only for families, but often for the surrounding community. The impact is devastating and can have a ripple effect, and in reality the only way to reduce the aftermath is to reduce accidents. Be mindful when driving, be aware of your surroundings, be focused – remember that people die every year in fatal collisions unnecessarily. In support groups, the questions and the trauma that continues doesn't go away. The only hope is that the memory becomes less as the years go by."

Chief officer Neil Dubord, chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee –

“You can’t imagine the consistent reactions of surprise we see from drivers at the roadside who think checking their phone at a red light, or ‘only’ driving 10, 15, 20 kilometres over the speed limit is okay because they’re busy, or they’re late. Getting in a crash and killing yourself or someone else will really make you late. Please #justdrive when you’re in the car.”

John Dickinson, ICBC’s road safety director –

“ICBC is encouraging drivers to reflect on their own driving behaviour today in honour of those who have lost their lives on our roads and their families. At this time of year, drivers need to adjust their driving in poor weather by slowing down and increasing their following distance to keep themselves and everyone on B.C. roads safe.”

Quick Facts:

  • RoadSafetyBC’s most recent data shows that motor vehicle related fatalities have continued on a downward trend. Fatalities in general fell 4% between 2012 and 2013.
  • Since 2009, the number of fatalities decreased by 26% from 363 to 269 in 2013.
  • B.C.’s tough drinking and driving penalties have resulted in a 54% decrease in alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities and 227 lives saved in a little over three years.
  • B.C. has taken action to put in place more severe consequences for distracted driving by boosting penalty points for people who choose to talk on a handheld phone while driving.

Learn More:

View the five year breakdown of road crash fatalities in B.C.: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/shareddocs/MV-Fatal-Victims2009-2013.pdf

 
Media Contact:
 
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
250 213-3602
 

 
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