Those injured and killed in traffic accidents will be remembered in Kelowna Nov. 21 during the inaugural national Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims in Kelowna.
The event, part of a world day of remembrance endorsed by the United Nations, is being spearheaded here by West Kelonwa personal injury lawyer Paul Hergott.
Hergott, who writes a weekly column about road safety issues and the law for the Capital News, has launched a local campaign called One Crash is Too Many to help raise awareness about the preventability of motor vehicle related injuries.
To coincide with the local event, which will be held in the Orchard Park Shopping Centre Parking lot at the corner of Highway 97 and Dilworth Road, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray has proclaimed Nov. 21, 2012 the Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims in the city.
Hergott said the event is intended to support, and be a focal point for, those who have suffered the effects of road traffic injuries or deaths and to raise awareness about traffic safety.
According to ICBC, in an average year in Kelowna, there are approximately 8,300 crashes on local roads—a figure that translates into about one per hour. Approximately 2,600 people are injured here as a result, or one every 3 1/2 hours.
In B.C., the cost of traffic accidents, not taking into account the emotional losses or the pain and suffering of victims and grieving family members, is $8.8 billion per year.
The total number of people killed on Canada’s roads in the last 50 years is greater than the combined Canadian losses in the First and Second World Wars says a Transport Canada study.
As a result, Hergott is urging the members of the driving public to take notice and improve their driving habits.
The World Day Of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was started by a group called RoadPeace in 1993 and has been promoted worldwide by several non-governmental organizations since then.
While it has been celebrated in some parts of Europe in the past, Hergott said it has been only been sparsely recognized in Canada and even less so in B.C. over the last five years.
In 2011, he said he could only find reports of two celebrations, one at a secondary school in Surrey and at the other at the B.C. Legislature, where Premier Christie Clark mentioned it as part of an announcement about tougher impaired driving laws.
The Nov. 21 gathering is slated to start at 5 p.m. and will feature several speakers who wil talk of the cost of traffic indues and deaths on individuals, families, emergency services, the provincial health system and society as a whole.
Written testimonials will also be collected for publication on the One Crash Is Too Many website (onecrashistoomany.com).
Hergott said members of the local RCMP, the fire departments in Kelonwa and West Kelowna and the ambulance service will take part.