Emergency crews check the single of an accident on Highway 97 just north of Red Wing Drive near Penticton in October, 2019. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Emergency crews check the single of an accident on Highway 97 just north of Red Wing Drive near Penticton in October, 2019. (Mark Brett - Western News)

EDITORIAL: Improving highway safety

Highway 97 has seen plenty of collisions and accidents over the years

Barriers to be installed on Highway 97 between Penticton and Summerland and between Armstrong and Vernon will help to improve safety along the busy Okanagan corridor.

The province has announced it will begin installing the barriers early this fall, in an effort to improve safety ad prevent head-on collisions and other accidents.

The highway has seen plenty of collisions and accidents over the years.

READ ALSO: Province to install highway barriers between Penticton, Summerland

READ ALSO: Fatal motorcycle crash on Highway 97 near Summerland

In January, a fatal collision between Peachland and Summerland claimed the life of one motorist when the vehicle lost control, entered the northbound lanes of the highway and collided with a transport truck.

Shortly after that accident, a petition was started. By late February, the petition had garnered 26,000 names.

The barriers will not be installed at the area where this accident occurred. Instead, the province has chosen to set up the barriers along high-traffic segments of the highway.

This is an important start.

The portion of the highway between Summerland and Penticton has had numerous accidents over the years.

In late May, an accident on Highway 97 in Summerland claimed the life of a motorcycle rider.

Other accidents have occurred along this portion of the highway each year.

Some of the accidents along Highway 97 in the South Okanagan have resulted in lengthy road closures. Others have had more tragic results, including some fatalities.

Accidents along Highway 97 are a concern in numerous Okanagan communities.

In Summerland last year, 127 motor vehicle accidents were recorded along the highway. The highway in Penticton was the site of 137 vehicle accidents, and in Oliver, 146 accidents occurred along Highway 97.

In Princeton, Highway 3 and Highway 5A – the main highways in the area – are also the roads with the most motor vehicle accidents.

Highway safety must be seen as a priority throughout the region. Setting up barriers along segments of Highway 97 in the Okanagan is one part of improving safety for motorists.

— Black Press

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