Fewer collisions on Southern Interior roads during first year of pandemic, but they were more deadly | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Fewer collisions on Southern Interior roads during first year of pandemic, but they were more deadly

Image Credit: Submitted/Kelowna RCMP
May 24, 2021 - 7:00 AM

Car crashes were down significantly in 2020 versus 2019 in the Southern Interior but when there were collisions they tended to be more deadly.

New data release Thursday, May 20, by ICBC shows the total number of collisions in the Southern Interior dropped to 35,000 from 41,000 in 2019. The number of crashes has been dropping steadily since 46,000 were recorded in 2017.

After COVID-19 hit last year, there were times where there was virtually no traffic on the roads and many people continue to work from home.

There were 17 fatalities at Southern Interior intersections last year, the highest during the five year period shown in the stats. There were 15 in 2019 and 2016 but only nine in 2018.

The lower number of crashes comes despite a rapid increase in the number of drivers on the roads.

While the number of people driving increased by 5,000 per year from 2016 to 2018, the rate of growth doubled to 10,000 in 2019 and grew by 15,000 last year to 595,000.

When it comes to crime, the number of vehicles stolen in the Southern Interior dropped to 1,200 last year from a five-year high of 1,400 in 2019.

Vehicle break-ins dropped to 610 from the five-year high of 840 in 2019 and vandalism dropped to 1,800 incidents from 2,100 the year before.

The data tables also show the number of crashes at intersections in every B.C. community.

In the Southern Interior, the number of crashes at intersections dropped to 8,300 in 2020 from 9,900 in each of the previous two years and 11,000 for the two years before that.

The intersections with the highest number of crashes were generally along major highways.

Kelowna’s intersection of Dilworth Drive and Highway 97 was the worst in the region with 88 crashes, up from 79 the year before.

The Spall Road-Highway 97 intersection dropped to number two spot in 2020 with 78 collisions, down considerably from 100 the year before when it was the worst in the region. Coming in at number three with 74 crashes was Banks Road-Highway 97.

In Kamloops, the most dangerous intersections were 8 Street-Fortune Drive-Tranquille Road with 44, followed by Columbia Street at Notre Dame including off ramps with 43 crashes while the 8 Street and Halston Avenue intersection ranked third with 48 crashes.

There were 45 crashes at 32 Street at 43 Avenue in Vernon, 40 collisions at 25 Avenue and 32 Street and 26 crashes at 27 Street and 49 Avenue.

Two intersections with Highway 97 in West Kelowna had the highest number of crashes in that city with 38 at Elk Road and 37 at the intersection with Hudson and Westlake roads. The Boucherie Road intersection with Hayman and Hudson roads ranked third at 35.

A significant improvement was seen where Butt Road intersects with Highway 97. It dropped to sixth spot with 28 crashes in 2020 after ranking third at 40 crashes the year before.

In Penticton, the greatest improvement was at the Channel Parkway-Warren Avenue West intersection that was ranked number three in 2019 with 21 crashes. There were only five last year, dropping it to 19th spot.

The worst intersection in Penticton in 2020 was the Channel Parkway intersection with Fairview and Green Mountain roads with 21. Still, that’s a significant improvement from 34 the year before.

There was a tie as the second worst intersections in Penticton with 12 collisions at both the Industrial Road East and West intersection and the Main Street-Warren Avenue East and West intersection.

By contrast, the worst intersection in the Lower Mainland was at 264 Street and the Trans-Canada Highway with 200 crashes.

For more data check out the ICBC web page here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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