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ICBC launches new campaign



Unsafe speed and aggressive driving are the focus of a two-month campaign by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia to make B.C roads safer.

"Our goal is to educate drivers about the dangers of unsafe sped to prevent crashes before they happen," said ICBC President and CEO Nick Geer.

The slogan for the campaign, which involves community volunteers and local police, is "It wouldn’t kill you to slow down."

Throughout the campaign ICBC will be working with local police on BC highways, including the Sea to Sky, to show drivers how fast they are travelling with a "two strikes, you’re out" system.

Speed watch volunteers will use speed reader boards to give drivers an opportunity to review their speed and slow down if they are going above the speed limit.

A driver’s second speed violation - strike two — will mean a warning or a violation ticket by police.

Last year speed was the number one contributing factor of fatal car accidents in BC, responsible for the deaths of 175 people. This accounts for 40% of BC’s fatal car crashes.

To illustrate the damage speeding vehicles can cause two cars travelling 50 kph and 70 kph were crashed into each other during a demonstration at the launch of the campaign earlier this month.

Travelling at an extra 20 km/h causes twice as much damage to a vehicle and driver.

The Sea to Sky Highway has always had a problem with speeding and there are concerns that upgrading over the next several years will make the problem even worse as drivers speed up to make up for delays.

"I would recommend that people provide themselves with adequate time before they head out to their destination," said Mabel Lee, Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator for the ICBC.

"If they are aware of the construction that is going on, my road safety suggestion is to time it. If it normally takes you an hour and a half to get there, give yourself two hours to get there instead."

People driving along highway 99 can expect 15 minute delays from Culliton Creek Bridge to Cheakamus Canyon 20-30 km north of Squamish 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to noon Fridays until July 25 for construction.

Blasting will also be taking place in the same area and there will be four hour closures 8 p.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday until July 24 and 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Tuesday to Friday until July 25 th .

The Culliton Creek to Cheakamus Canyon Reconstruction Project is scheduled for completion in 2005 and a 60 km/h zone is in effect.

And remember speeding fines double in construction zones.

According to the most recent ICBC statistics, travelling at an unsafe speed was the major contributing factor in the number of fatal motor accidents on highway 99 with 313 deaths, 26.4% of the total fatalities between 1996 to 2000

"Many of the road safety projects on highway 99 are implemented through the Sea to Sky Committee which is made up of representatives from the RCMP, ICBC, Sea to Sky Mayors and Councillors, Capilano Highways and the Ministry of Transportation, said ICBC Loss Prevention and Communications Co-ordinator Kathleen Hicks.

"This committee meets twice annually with a goal of reducing crashes and saving lives on the Sea to Sky Corridor by implementing strategic road safety programs," she said.

"The committee will remain active throughout the duration of the Sea to Sky improvements and will continue to make road safety recommendations."