The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) will be looking at some “out of the box” initiatives this year as it makes road safety its top priority for 2014, according to spokesman Const. Ian MacDonald.
He said the department is tackling this issue as its top focus for the second consecutive year because although the number of fatal collisions was down in 2013 from the previous year, the number of injury crashes stayed about the same.
“As a police department and as a community, we need to do more,” he said.
There were nine vehicle-related fatalities in 2012 and four in 2013. The number of crashes resulting in injuries was 504 and 517 respectively.
MacDonald said 100 people have died on Abbotsford roads in the last decade, prompting the release this week of a poster and video designed to get people thinking about their driving behaviours.
They show 100 crosses lining the side of a road, with the message “Stay alert. Slow down. Think safe.”
The video can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/kzfmjkq.
Last year, the APD released a number of awareness posters and videos in hopes of getting people to be more cautious on the road. Issues such as distracted driving and speeding were addressed.
One of the videos was actual footage of a pedestrian being struck as he was walking in a marked crosswalk. The driver admitted that she had been momentarily distracted by glancing at her purse just before the collision.
MacDonald said more of those messages will continue this year, in combination with other initiatives, including some “new and challenging ways” that police will address traffic issues.
He said these could include methods of enforcement that people might not anticipate.
“We’re going to have to bring everything that we brought to the table last year and more (to further combat the problem).”
MacDonald said, much like the focus the APD put on reducing gang violence in previous years, road safety will take ongoing discussions, enforcement and community engagement for significant results to set in.
“A lot of people like to shrug it (bad driving) off … They almost think it’s par for the course.”