Children are some of B.C.’s most innocent road victims. This Family Day weekend, the Province is reminding drivers that the safety of young passengers is at the mercy of adult drivers and the choices they make.
Between 2009 and 2013, an average of 27 children lost their lives in crashes every year in B.C., and in 2013 alone, five children under the age of three years old died in car crashes. One child’s death is too many - and these statistics are both tragic and sobering.
The top three contributing factors to road fatalities in B.C. continue to be speeding, distraction, and alcohol and drug use, and there are tough penalties in place for drivers who put the safety of others, including young family members, at risk:
- Excessive speeding can be a death sentence for everyone involved. A driver who exceeds the speed limit by more than 40 km/h can receive a $368 fine, three penalty points, and can have their vehicle impounded.
- There is no doubt that kids can be distracting, and while parents are expert multitaskers, it is critical to ignore the temptation to do too many things at once while driving. That means not reaching back into the vehicle to grab a toy off the floor, and leaving cell phones off or out of reach. Using an electronic device while driving carries a $167 ticket and three penalty points.
- Drivers affected by alcohol and drugs may be directed aboard Alexa’s Bus, a mobile road safety unit launched in December to help police take such drivers off the road immediately. The bus was named after four year old Alexa Middelaer, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 2008.
To help keep small children safe, adults can also refresh their knowledge of B.C.’s car seat and booster seat regulations so that everyone in the family is buckled up safely:
- Infants who are not yet one year old and weigh less than 9 kg (20 lbs) are required to sit in rear-facing car seats.
- Toddlers are required to sit in forward-facing car seats until they are 18 kg (40 lbs).
- Children under nine years old must use a booster seat until they are 145 cm (4’9”) tall.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton -
“We must all be aware that children do not make choices about road safety - adults do. This Family Day weekend when we’re focused on our loved ones, I ask adult drivers to think carefully about making choices that will keep kids safe from the moment they buckle up in the driveway, to when they return home.”
Speeding, distraction, and driving affected by alcohol and drugs killed 218 people of all ages combined in B.C. in 2013.
Since introducing B.C.’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) Program in 2010, an estimated 227 lives have been saved and alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped by 54%.
B.C. recently introduced increased penalties for distracted driving and continues to look at the possibility of raising fines to a level that will further change driver behaviour.
Learn More:Information about the penalties for excessive speeding in B.C.: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/road-safety/speed.htm#excessivespeed
Link to RoadSafetyBC information on use of electronic device legislation: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/road-safety/distracted.htm
IRP penalties: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/shareddocs/immediate-roadside-prohibitionpenalties.
Seat belts, car seats, and booster seat safety information: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/road-safety/seatbelts.htm
Motor Vehicle Fatalities in B.C.: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/shareddocs/MV-Fatal-Victims2009-2013.pdf
Visit RoadSafetyBC online: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/
Follow @RoadSafetyBC on Twitter
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice