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Delta throwback: Award for fewest fatalities

The city is currently coming up with a comprehensive plan to reduce traffic accidents that result in death or serious injury
Just a few weeks before Delta won a top award for traffic safety in 1973, a 20-year-old man was killed when his convertible left the road and flipped in a field near Highway 17 and Deltaport Way.

Let’s head back to May 1973 when the municipality of Delta won a top award in Canada for the lowest rate of fatal accidents over the year.

Mayor Dugald Morrison was informed of the award in a letter from the Traffic Safety Council.

Awards were presented in two categories: cities having shown the greatest reduction in accidents per 10,000 in population over the calendar year, and cities having shown the lowest rate of fatal accidents per 10,000.

Safety Council assistant director Yves Mondoux told the mayor that Delta finished first in the second category.

Mondoux said the police force, in particular, “is to be commended for the success of the accident prevention program in your city.”

Fast forward 50 years and the City of Delta has embarked on coming up with its own Vision Zero strategy.

It’s aimed at eliminating traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries by making communities safer for all modes of transportation.

Several cities such as Vancouver, Surrey and Toronto have already adopted their own Vision Zero strategies in recent years.

During a presentation this year from a consultant and Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord, council was told that since 2016, on average, 22 people are killed or seriously injured on Delta roads.

Some of the other stats presented included 65 per cent of all collisions are occurring at intersections while heavy trucks, despite accounting for just three per cent of vehicular traffic, account for 12 per cent of accidents involving someone being killed or seriously injured.

Vision Zero is to reduce those numbers, as well as improve connections to schools and community services, and address the needs of older adults and vulnerable road users.

The city is to develop a holistic and strategic road safety approach, which includes stakeholders and community partners.

A new plan is to be approved for implementation by 2024.

The plan, which would prioritize high-crash locations, will have several elements from road design, speed reduction, enforcement and education.