(Black Press photo)

VIDEO: North Vancouver wants car crashes cleared faster

District staff have a solution to drivers having to wait hours for wrecks to be removed

Waiting for hours as B.C. road crews clear a highway crash could be a thing of the past, if one Lower Mainland community has its way.

The District of North Vancouver is getting ready to ask the provincial government to review what it sees as onerous requirements to investigate crashes.

“We’ve been receiving more and more complaints from our residents that they feel like accidents are taking a long time to clear,” said District of North Vancouver project manager Erin Moxon. “They feel like the accidents were relatively minor and they couldn’t understand why it was taking so long to clear them.”

The North Shore’s geography doesn’t help, Moxon added. Accessible by only two bridges from Vancouver in the south and funnelled onto just one highway going north, the area lacks alternate routes to avoid traffic jams. During the last month alone, DriveBC reported at least a dozen accidents that closed one or more lanes, stalling traffic for hours.

RELATED: Delta Police investigating two-vehicle crash on Highway 10

District staff plan to suggest a three-pronged solution at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this fall.

Currently, only police are allowed to clear crashes and fill out investigation reports, and they must investigate when the damage is worth more than $1,000.

The idea is for the province to update its legislation and allow fire departments to clear minor crashes, fill out the reports, and raise the monetary cap where police must be involved to $10,000.

“Volume on Highway 1 has been increasing steadily over the past several years,” said Moxon. “I think all the Lower Mainland municipalities would be quite interested in it, and possibly in the rural areas as well.”

She added: “We’re really trying to focus on the minor accidents. We fully recognize that if there’s a serious injury or a fatality that absolutely does take time.”

WATCH: Surrey shares its solution

According to ICBC statistics, North Vancouver had 704 car accidents between 2011-2015. Of those, 426 involved no injuries and were likely contenders for a police-free response.

The idea was inspired by pilot projects in Surrey and Kamloops. Surrey’s firefighters have been clearing minor crashes and filling out investigation reports for more than a decade.

Fire Chief Len Garis said the initiative has helped ease congestion immensely, especially since the city is criss-crossed by highways. ICBC numbers show that Surrey saw 912 crashes between 2011-2015. Of those, 443 wre property-damage only, likely contenders for a police-free approach.

“From an efficiency and effectiveness perspective, it’s really improved,” said Garis. “All of our accidents that have any substance to them, that information just gets transferred to police.”

He said fire crews also used the information to help make roads safer.

“Maybe there’s a certain intersection that needs more enforcement or a better turning radius,” Garis said, “or there just might be reasons why that’s occurring and [we’re] using that information for evidence-based addressing of some of those issues.”

B.C. cities are set to vote on the idea at the UBCM convention in September. More than anything, Moxon said she hopes the push will get the conversation going.

“Fingers crossed, something will come of it.”

TRY IT OUT: ICBC CRASH DATA

Just Posted

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Art takes a personal tone during the 110th anniversary of the Victoria Sketch Club

The 47th annual art show is taking place until March 24

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Most Read