The Abbotsford stretch of Highway 1 sees its share of serious collisions – such as a five-car pileup on Feb. 14 – but, according to the RCMP, crash figures have remained stable over the last five years.
Between 2010 and 2013, there were seven people each year who suffered serious injuries due to collisions on the highway – involving at least one night in hospital. The Abbotsford stretch runs from about 275 Street in the west to Boundary Road in the east.
Cpl. Robert McDonald, with the RCMP Traffic Service, said that in 2008, there were five such cases; in 2009, a high of nine.
“We’re not seeing an increase in collisions – nothing that would concern us enough to create a special project.”
The numbers of people with less serious injuries, such as soft tissue damage and broken arms, were also fairly stable, falling within a range of 46 to 64 per year over the last six years. Specifically, there were 59 people with injuries in 2013, 63 in 2012, 46 in 2011, 58 in 2010, 64 in 2009, and 52 in 2008. McDonald noted that the 2013 figures aren’t yet final.
There were no fatalities on the Abbotsford stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in that time.
The ICBC’s online crash map does show a high number of crashes in Abbotsford along the highway. Around the Sumas Way exit, collisions reached 132 in 2012, a three-year high. At the Mt. Lehman exit, the second most dangerous zone along the highway, there were 111 crashes in 2012, a four-year high.
However, McDonald cautioned that these figures present an inflated picture of the situation because they include minor rear-enders and scratches that result in no injuries. They also include occurrences off the highway, such as at the on- and off-ramps. Many are “more than likely” related to construction on the highway, said McDonald, where cars are bumper to bumper and are more likely to collide. Most incidents were not significant enough to warrant police attendance.