Long traffic tie-ups due to accidents on the Malahat Drive are a regular occurrence. (Goldstream News Gazette)

Long traffic tie-ups due to accidents on the Malahat Drive are a regular occurrence. (Goldstream News Gazette)

Malahat biggest risk careless driving, not speed, SenseBC says

Claire Trevena rules out speed cameras for Vancouver Island road

Vancouver Island’s scenic Malahat Drive can be a hazardous trip, but it’s mostly not due to exceeding the speed limit, according to data released Wednesday by B.C. driver advocate group SenseBC.

ICBC and transportation ministry crash data for 10 years on the Highway 1 stretch north of Victoria were obtained via freedom of information regulations. SenseBC researcher Derek Lewers said the results show only 5.6 per cent of accidents on the Malahat from 2008 to 2017 were attributed by police to exceeding the speed limit.

Getting the crash data took months and an appeal the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner, Lewers said.

As with other recent crash analyses of B.C. roads, “driver inattentive” was the biggest factor in Malahat crashes, at 25.6 per cent. Lewers says the Capital Regional District’s Traffic Safety Commission has lumped together speeding and driving too fast for conditions, at 12.6 per cent, for its push to have average speed cameras installed on the Malahat.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena ruled out the speed cameras, which SenseBC calls “photo radar 2.0” this week, after a long lobbying campaign by the CRD. Trevena made the comments as she released a study of the Malahat that found that severe crashes were not frequent enough to justify the cost of an alternative route for times when the Highway 1 route is shut down due to accidents or other hazardous conditions.

A recent police enforcement campaign on the Malahat showed speeding was a big problem, at least on Sunday, Dec. 8. Police set up a speed trap for five hours that day and ticketed 19 vehicles for excessive speeding, which is more than 40 km/h over the posted limit. Each driver got a $368 fine and the vehicle impounded for a week, a penalty SenseBC says adds up to more than $2,000 with impound fees and increased ICBC premiums.

For gathering the official statistics, the Malahat is defined as the portion of Highway 1 between West Shore Parkway in Langford north to Mill Bay Road in Mill Bay.

RELATED: Police impound 19 vehicles for excessive speed on Malahat

RELATED: Province says no to alternative route for Malahat

Another 63 speeding tickets were also issued in the blitz, costing $138 for up to 20 km/h over the limit, and $196 for going 20 to 40 km/h over. Acting Staff Sgt. Ron Cronk of the CRD’s road safety unit said high-speed driving is a constant problem on the Malahat.

SenseBC counters that according to ICBC and transportation ministry data, with 90 million trips over the Malahat in 10 years, only one fatality was attributed by police to excessive speeding. Statistics show there were 414 crashes over 10 years, which Lewers called an “unremarkable” crash rate.

SenseBC co-founder Ian Tootill said he is pleased that Trevena ruled out speed cameras, but cited ministry data showing the Malahat speed limit should be increased.

“Let’s put our police resources to work effectively, watching for aggressive, incompetent and impaired drivers, and stop robbing the ordinary hard-working British Columbian who is not negatively impacting road safety,” Tootill said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Logging Camp Nine on Great Central Lake overlooks a large forest fire across the lake in this historical photo from May 1943. Camp Nine was bustling, with residences for logging camp staff, a rail line and rail cars visible. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN12220 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Great Central Lake’s sawmill

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Vally Museum

Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ goalie Luke Pearson stopped all 22 shots the Cowichan Capitals sent his way to collect a 5–0 shutout in B.C. Hockey League action, Saturday, April 10, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BCHL: Pearson earns shutout in Bulldogs’ win over Cowichan Capitals

Alberni Valley will face Victoria Grizzlies Sunday, April 11 at 3 p.m.

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Princess Elizabeth and her new husband, Prince Philip—behind the wheel—visited the Alberni Valley on the princess's inaugural visit to Canada. A photographer with Charnell Studios in Port Alberni captured the young newlyweds along the parade route on Oct. 25, 1951, months before Princess Elizabeth became Queen. Prince Philip died April 9, 2021, just shy of his 100th birthday. This photo is one of 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum's online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN 13605 COURTESY OF ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Prince Philip and his new bride visit Port Alberni

A special look back with the Alberni Valley Museum to honour the life of Prince Philip

John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
High-risk sex offender banned from central Island, living in Vancouver: police

John Ambrose Seward, 33, has been released from prison under a number of conditions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read