A look at highway safety

Shockingly, there are more highway fatalities in the area during the summer months than the winter months.

I read the most absolutely stunning fact on the internet this week.

There are more highway fatalities in the area during the summer months than the winter months.

This information came from HMC Services, the company who holds the highway maintenance contract with the government. Certainly there are more vehicles on the highway during the summer months, but the fact still astounded me. There’s no reason there should be so many incidents on the highways while road conditions are ideal.

In the same online post, authored by HMC Division Manager Greg Ehman, the government is investing a record number of dollars towards highway improvements, which includes maintenance and expansion projects like the four-laning project.

For as much as people, myself included, complain about the highways, I have to say that last comment doesn’t surprise me. Travelling in the summer, you can’t make it to the next community in any direction without coming across some road work.

We’ve reached a point in our society where we feel that travelling is not only a right, but that it is government’s responsibility to make it as easy as possible.

I remember a letter to the editor to this paper two years ago where a motorist travelling through during the summer hit a pothole on Highway 1 so large that it did damage to his vehicle. He wrote in, suggesting that it was HMC Services’ responsibility to pay for it.

I even received a follow up email from him asking if any locals had written in to support his request. He was quite shocked to hear that nobody had.

My long-winded point is that the onus seems to be taken off the drivers to keep the roads safe, and placed on the authorities and maintenance workers instead, as evidenced by the fact that fatality rates are highest when road conditions are at their best.

It did not occur to this driver who wrote in two years ago to drive slower so that he could avoid the potholes more easily. And it certainly did not occur to him that we all drive the highways at our own risk, and that it is our own responsibility (not the government’s or their contract holders’) to cover any damage done to our property while en route.

Driver habits have a much larger impact on highway safety than road conditions ever will.