Car accidents on the rise in Surrey

According to the latest data from ICBC, there were more than 16,000 car crashes in 2015

If you’ve lived in Surrey long enough, chances are you’ve witnessed a car collision.

With an average of 200 car accidents per day in Surrey alone, you might be an anomaly if you haven’t driven by a car wreck, or at least a fender bender.

According to data from ICBC’s Crash Map, car accidents have increased between 2011-2015, aside from a slight decrease in 2013.

Here are the total number of car accidents based on ICBC’s data.

2011: 14,050

2012: 14,571

2013: 14,206

2014: 14,898

2015: 16,886

Population growth could factor into the increase in accidents, but ICBC is spending this week trying to hammer another point home.

ICBC is promoting Teen Driver Safety Week with an emphasis on decreasing distracted driving.

ICBC has been doing their best to inform the public of the dangers associated with distracted driving. According to data on their website, 78 people die in B.C. every year in crashes where distracted driving is a contributing factor.

Joanna Linsangan of ICBC says that one in six drivers between the ages of 16-21 could get in a crash, which is part of the reason why their spreading awareness about distracted driving during Teen Driver Safety Week.

“We need to put a spotlight on this issue because young drivers represent a high number of crashes,” Linsangan said. “Distracted driving is a leading cause of many of these crashes.”

As of 2015, there were 230,000 active licenses for 16-21-year-olds. 35,000 people in that age range were involved in a car accident as either a driver, passenger, cyclist.

25% of those who were in a crash suffered injuries.

“We’ve seen a shift in what the primary reasons for crashes are,” said Linsangan. “People are having difficulty shutting off when their hands are behind the wheel, despite the consequences.

For drivers that have an ‘L’ or an ‘N,’ there is a zero-tolerance policy for using electronic devices behind the wheel, even if they are hands-free.

Linsangan wanted to clarify that distracted driving doesn’t just include electronic devices.

“There’s a lot of misconception about what distracted driving is,” she said. “The majority of the time it’s people looking at their mobile devices, but it’s really anything that could take your focus away from the road. That includes eating, intense conversation, or your infotainment system.”

To help teenagers learn good driving habits, Linsangan said it starts with the parents.

“I know it can be challenging raising a teenager, but kids pick up their parents habits. One thing parents should do is have both you and your teen lock their phone in the glovebox before starting the car.”

“Everyone has the responsibility and ability to get involved.”



trevor.beggs@surreynowleader.com

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