(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

Red Cross Workers to visit Bella Coola January 23 – 25

Red Cross workers will be at the Moose Hall Jan 23-25 to meet one-on-one with individuals

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

School District 49 to re-open Nusatsum Elementary in September 2018

SD49 says increasing enrollment is driving its decision to re-open the school

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Most Read