(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

SLIDESHOW: Blue River cross-country ski races awards ceremony

A lot of proud youngsters following the races – justifiably proud

SLIDESHOW: Blue River cross-country ski races – part three

Third part of three-part slideshow of races held Wednesday

SLIDESHOW: Blue River cross-country ski races – part two

Part three of race slideshow plus awards event still to come

COFI seeks 2018 forestry scholarship applicants

Ten $1,500 scholarships are awarded to students pursuing a career in the forest industry

SLIDESHOW: Blue River cross-country ski races – part one

More photos of ski races plus awards ceremony to come

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks fold 5-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

That’s a wrap: B.C. Games results after Day 1

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 is in the lead for medals Friday at the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Mills Memorial Hospital financing formula released

Regional taxpayers to pay $113.7 million for new facility.

Most Read