Being safe on the roads means more than passing your N licence.
This week, ICBC and RCMP pooled together their resources to hold a road safety demonstration at Carson Graham Secondary. The insurance corporation and police service aim to hold the event every year at a different school, according to Harvey Kooner, road safety and community co-ordinator with ICBC.
Distracted driving is the top contributing factor for injury crashes involving youth aged 16 to 21, according to statistics supplied by ICBC.
On average, 11 youth are killed and 7,300 are injured in 20,000 crashes each year in the Lower Mainland.
Organizers set up a course outside the school building that included a distracted walking course and the use of fatal vision goggles, simulating impairment. The students experienced what it’s like to have a few drinks in their system while having to “walk the line,” a method used by police officers to determine someone’s level of sobriety.
Throughout the distracted walking course, a North Van RCMP volunteer walked alongside students and asked them math questions while they were holding a calculator. The idea was for the students to obey the signs laid out on the ground while answering the questions.
The objective was to show students how easy it is to miss a sign, a cone or a pedestrian while being distracted in one way or another while being behind the wheel.
“I think it would help me for sure because it shows us the consequences without having to do it,” said Victoria Jackson, a Grade 12 student.
The event also highlighted the impact that attending to injury crashes has on first responders. It's something that not many people think of, according to Jordan Lawrence, a paramedic that helped with demonstrations at the school. He said it’s tough for them to deal with youth involved in car accidents.
“It also puts a bit of a toll on us because most people have children at that age and then we have to deal with it,” he said.
For Lawrence, it’s concerning when a young person ends up in an ambulance.
“That’s why we take part in these events to try and minimize the people doing this and hopefully [we] get the message across,” Lawrence said.