Fatal crashes down, impaired driving up on local roads

Traffic statistics from the Arrow Lakes areas in 2015

Local traffic police saw one encouraging trend in 2015, but lots of others that have them concerned.

In a roundup of annual statistics, RCMP Sgt. John Ferguson of West Kootenay Traffic Services said there were four fatal crashes on local roads last year, down from 11 in 2014, “however four is still too many.”

None were alcohol-related, but Ferguson said impaired driving charges increased by 35 per cent and roadside suspensions related to alcohol increased 100 per cent. Charges of driving while impaired by drugs increased 10 per cent.

“This is an alarming increase,” Ferguson said. “We cannot stress enough the devastation an impaired charge or an immediate roadside prohibition can have on the driver, family or victims of a crash.”

On Boxing Day alone, a single officer pulled over four suspected drunk drivers in the Fruitvale area, which Ferguson called “unbelievable.” Another four drivers were taken off the road on New Year’s Eve.

There was also a 25 per cent increase in drug seizures and 100 per cent increase in drug trafficking charges related to people travelling on local highways. Seatbelt and cell phone-related infractions decreased, although Ferguson said distracted driving remains one of the main causes of crashes.

Charges related to speeding more than 40 km/h over the posted limit increased by 50 per cent.

“Slow down and drive to the road conditions, not the posted speed limit,” Ferguson advised.

Ferguson said neither enforcement nor manpower changed with his unit between 2014 and 2015 in fact it was down slightly due to one officer who was off injured.

He theorized, though, that some increases had to do with people becoming used to stricter roadside prohibition penalties that came into effect a few years ago. Initially, he said, people were more vigilant, but “now they’re back to not thinking about it.”

Ferguson said no one part of West Kootenay/Boundary has a lock on questionable driving. “If it was just Nelson, going to Playmor Junction, we could easily target that, but it’s the entire Kootenays, not just one specific place,” he said.

“Our patrol’s mandate is to make Kootenay Boundary roads the safest in BC and we will continue to strive to do this through enforcement and education. We need the public as well to understand that adverse actions on the roads can and will affect themselves and others.”

 

Just Posted

Company granted leave to appeal Lemon Creek charges

Executive Flight Centre won a decision in the BC Court of Appeal

Interior Health study offers take-home drug testing kits to spot fentanyl

Interior Health to evaluate safety of at home drug testing kits aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoses

Nakusp students get CPR, defibrillator training

Advanced Coronary Training program visits high school

Cannabis promoters call for ‘reset’ of federal pot rules

Changes in regulation are causing chaos for small growers, say letter’s authors

Trail firefighters quash a string of suspicious brush fires

Seven brush fires started Friday night; Trail police investigating

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

Calgary Police looking for missing man who may be heading to B.C.

A man last seen on May 15 in Calgary may be heading to the Kootenay region, according to police

Most Read