Abbotsford saw an increase in car crashes at intersections in 2012 as compared to 2011, according to data from ICBC.
ICBC released the 2012 crash statistics for the province last week, which showed that the number of accidents at intersections increased in Abbotsford for the first time since 2008.
There were roughly 7,560 crashes overall in Abbotsford in 2012, including collisions in parking lots.
There were 3,110 injured victims, and 70 pedestrian crashes throughout the year.
ICBC also published an online crash map, showing the locations of accidents that occurred at intersections.
The map lists the total number of accidents at intersections in Abbotsford at 3,205 in 2008. The number decreased slightly each year, hitting its lowest point at 2,835 in 2011. Of those accidents, 1,332 resulted in injuries. In 2012, both numbers increased to 2,920 accidents with 1,393 resulting in injuries.
Const. Ian MacDonald, spokesman for the Abbotsford Police Department (APD), said the APD’s statistics differ from ICBC’s, as their records include only the accidents that APD attended. But he said they noted a high level of accidents last year, leading to the APD’s decision to make road safety a top priority in 2013.
“As far as traffic and road safety are concerned, we saw some really alarming numbers (last year).”
He said the APD recorded a five per cent increase in accidents with injuries in 2012, and also nine fatal collisions – five more than the previous year.
MacDonald said it is difficult to say what accounts for the increase, but it is important to note that many of the accidents are preventable.
According to ICBC’s crash map, on and off-ramps at Highway 1 across Abbotsford generally have the most accidents for a single location.
The intersection with the most accidents in 2012 was Lonzo Road and Sumas Way, at the on-ramp to Highway 1, with 132 crashes and 63 of those involving injuries.
That number is up from 2011, where the same spot saw 91 accidents. The Mt. Lehman Road and Highway 1 on and off-ramps also saw about 111 accidents in 2012 and 41 with injuries.
The Fraser Highway and Mt. Lehman turning lane saw 96 accidents in 2012.
MacDonald said left turns and the high level of pedestrian-related accidents are a concern that APD will be addressing throughout 2013.
“… up to 50 per cent of our collisions are created through left-turn scenarios.
“What we’ve asked people to do is stay alert, slow down and to think about safety.”
For a story on one of the Abbotsford Police Department’s traffic officers working to reduce these statistics, click here.