May 16, 2013 - 2:53 PM
May long weekend destinations, and the road trips that get you there, can be dangerous according to officials.
On average, 70 people are injured in 280 crashes throughout the Southern Interior over the Victoria Day long weekend each year.
That's why local authorities and ICBC are reminding the public to pay attention and drive carefully this weekend.
As roads get clogged with travellers, ICBC advises drivers to avoid the instinct to rush. Things that might seem harmless—tailgating, failing to yield, speeding, improper passing—contribute to 44 per cent of police reported casualty crashes in B.C. In other words, it might save you a minute, but end up taking your life.
Over the long weekend, police will be stepping up enforcement across the province targeting high-risk driving behaviours.
“High-risk behaviours have no place on our roads,” Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the B.C. Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee said. “We will be out in full-force across the province to let drivers know we are serious about reducing these senseless crashes. As police officers, we see the heartbreaking results of bad driving behaviours, and we know how easily they can be prevented.”
As part of Canadian Road Safety Week, RCMP spokesperson for the North Okanagan Gord Molendyk says officers are out and about watching for dangerous driving this weekend.
Officials will also be ensuring boaters follow the rules of the water.
Sgt. Josh Lockwood, conservation operations supervisor for the North Okanagan, says National Boat Safety Week launches Saturday with an emphasis on the use of life jackets.
"So many times last year we'd see parents holding small children, who it was apparent couldn't swim, not wearing any type of life preserver," Lockwood says. "If you happen to run into a rogue wave you can lose your balance. Someone can get pitched out and they really don't have a chance if they're infants."
He says it's important for youths and infants to don life jackets as soon as they climb aboard, not "when we think we need them."
"This year we're going to carry small life jackets for youth, thanks to donations from the public last year," Lockwood says.
On a recent patrol, Lockwood says he encountered many people ill-equipped to be on the lake, including some with dead batteries in their flashlights and mouse-eaten life jackets.
Officials will also be cracking down on unregistered boats and those without their operator's certificates.
"RCMP, COS and DFO are going to start taking a dim view of people who do not have their license," Lockwood says. "Treat it like a motor vehicle. If you're driving, you need a license."
Boaters will be fined $288 for not having their license.
Lockwood says integrated patrols will be active around the region over the long weekend on a variety of small and large lakes.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call (250)309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013