As of this week, the Surrey RCMP and its partners are driving home the message that high-risk driving and speeding increase the likelihood of causing an accident.
Project Swoop was launched Wednesday morning at several locations in Surrey. The campaign has traffic officers, auxiliaries and volunteers stationed a high-crash locations in the city. Speed reader boards have been installed at all Project Swoop locations.
“In Surrey, 14 persons have been killed in traffic collisions so far this year,” said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann. “With the decreasing daylight hours and wet conditions, we want to remind drivers that we are out on the roads keeping drivers in check and to follow some simple rules to reduce your chances of being involved in a crash.”
The launch of the campaign comes a day after a Surrey man died after a single-vehcle crash on Nordel Way during the afternoon rush hour. Police say speed was a factor in the collision.
On Tuesday at about 2 p.m., a green 2002 Toyota Echo was heading westbound in the curb lane in the 10500-block of Nordel Way before jumping the curb and striking an overhead sign post, bringing it down onto the road. The 28-year-old driver died at the scene.
Although the investigation into this collision is in its early stages, police say speed was a significant contributing factor.
Investigators are looking for witnesses who saw the collision or have information about the driving pattern of the vehicle prior to the crash. Call Delta Police at 604-946-4411, quote file number 16-25080, and ask speak to Const. Lehbauer.
As part of Project Swoop, Safety tips and information are posted on the Road Safety page of the Surrey RCMP website (surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca) as well as ICBC’s website (www.icbc.com). The City of Surrey’s website (https://surrey.ca/city-services/766.aspx) has information on traffic calming devices.
ICBC Road Safety Coordinator Karen Klein said almost half of all crashes that result in injury or death involve high-risk driving like speeding or failing to yield.
“Every year, on average, 94 people are killed in speed-related crashes in B.C.,” Klein said. “Speeding happens rain, snow or shine. We need to remind drivers that they’re really increasing their risk of a crash if they choose to speed.”
Based on statistics from 2013 to 2014, ICBC listed three Surrey intersections along King George Boulevard among the top 10 most dangerous in Metro Vancouver. They were at 88 Avenue (180 collisions), 128 Street (170 collisions) and 72 Avenue (160 collisions).
Spencer Singer, one of RCMP’s Speed Watch volunteers monitoring roads on Wednesday morning, said speed reader boards are an effective way to increase safety along dangerous routes.
“After about four or six months, the roads will improve and the city will move the (speed reader) boards to new spots,” said Singer. “It keeps speed limits at the front of drivers’ minds.”
Speed Watch volunteers work in partnership with Surrey RCMP to monitor school and playground zones, neighbourhood streets and high crash zones.
They bring traffic calming projects such as Project Swoop to local roads and provide road safety education to make sure drivers get the message and slow down.
Volunteers use phones loaned from the program to forward vehicle and speed information to police and ICBC, who use the collected information to identify high-risk locations and determine enforcement action.
In the Lower Mainland, an average of 99 people a year die in auto accidents, according to ICBC statistics. An average of 24 fatalities a year are a result of speeding, and 42 are a result of high-risk driving.
“The City of Surrey will also be enhancing its Speed Reader Board Program in 2017 as the boards are proving effective at slowing down drivers and raising awareness around the issue of speeding in our city,” said Jaime Boan, the City of Surrey’s manager of transportation. “We want to encourage all drivers in Surrey to travel at safe speeds because it’s everyone’s responsibility to help keep our roads safe.”
– with files from Sam Anderson