Nineteen people died and 20 more were seriously injured in traffic crashes in Surrey in 2018 – a year when 290 pedestrians were hit on this city’s streets.
Police say the latter number is typical of most years in Surrey. (See story page 13.)
Terrible as these numbers are, what compounds the tragedy of many of these deaths and injuries, we will hazard a guess, is that they were entirely preventable.
Accidents of course happen, but how many of these crashes, we wonder, were the product of a driver texting when he or she should have had their eyes on the road?
Someone who drank or toked before getting behind the wheel?
A pedestrian too lazy to use a crosswalk, too fixated on their cellphone screen to be aware of the cars around them?
Someone who blew off the walk/don’t walk light?
Who drove too fast through a school zone, or tried to beat the light?
The City of Surrey, through its Vision Zero Surrey campaign – aimed at reducing traffic fatalities and injuries to a total sum of none by 2023 – tells us that on Surrey’s roads one person is injured every hour, that every month statistically more than one person is killed, that crashes cost more than $1 million every day, and each year the number of injury crashes rise by three per cent.
What can we do to prevent the carnage? Everything.
Drivers and pedestrians can pay due attention. Drivers can resist the urge to sneak through lights, or to speed. Pedestrians can walk that extra few metres to a crosswalk rather than jaywalk.
Don’t drink and drive or do drugs and drive.
It’s all about choices. Don’t risk your life, or the lives of others, in an effort to beat the clock in this busy world of ours. If we all had the presence of mind to recognize the insanity of putting life itself on the line to save a few “precious” seconds of time in traffic, and chose instead to do the right thing – the smart thing – the reward both personally and societally is potentially priceless.