(Black Press photo)
Bad Video Embed Code

(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

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

Just Posted

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

Liberty roses – created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert – will be planted in White Rock later this month. (Contributed photo)
‘Liberty Rose’ to be planted along Johnston Road and at White Rock City Hall

Poppy-like rose created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert

South Surrey’s Kirk Arsenault has started a new company, Str8laced, that sells cleat wraps that aim to keep athletes’ shoes from coming untied during games and practices. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey sports equipment entrepreneur tying up loose ends before Alberta move

Str8laced wraps keep laces from coming loose in the middle of play, says Kirk Arsenault

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

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

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read