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Preventing preventable deaths

Twelve fatalities in nine months on Pemberton roads has first responders speaking out

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“After you’ve had a few drinks you look at your options for getting home. It’s an issue.

“There’s no real bus service. And they haven’t made other plans. They’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to get home, what are the chances (of getting caught)?’It’s probably the same situation anywhere towns and amenities are spread out and there’s not a public transit system people can rely on.

“Speeding, aggressive driving, drinking and driving — everyone knows the danger. I don’t know what to do about the public education to make it sink in,” says King.

He believes that with both drinking and driving the emphasis has to be on prevention. When it comes to speeding, he sees complacency as a major issue.

“I think part of the problem is people have so far to go to get where they’re going. They could be driving in regularly from D’Arcy to Whistler. They’ve driven it twice a day for 10 years and there’s the monotony, they just want to get where they’re going.

“As far as speed is concerned, I suggest putting photo radar between here and Whistler and put a big sign that says there is photo radar, because it’s more important to keep them from speeding than catching them after.

“And we can take a lesson from Kiewet. You know their signs that say ‘Slow down, my mommy (or daddy) works here.’ Maybe we use pictures of actual vehicles that have been in accidents — there is some value in shock value. We need some kind of in-your-face signage that reminds people that these are winding roads and they are subject to weather changes. If it saves one life it’s worth it.”

King agrees with Cpl. Vadik that the majority of accidents are preventable.

“I think you could say 90 per cent of MVAs on the road today are preventable if people were paying attention, not drinking, not speeding, not talking on the phone, not yelling at the kids in the back, not pouring their coffee — a lot of accidents could be avoided.”

While the first responders will continue to meet quarterly to assess and refine their efforts at enforcement, education and engagement, they will not be alone.