Lack of road maintenance might save money but will cost lives

On January 22, my husband, our two daughters and a family friend were involved in a motor vehicle accident across from Rock Island in Trail.

On Sunday evening, January 22, my husband, our two daughters (aged 8 & 12) and a family friend were involved in a motor vehicle accident across from Rock Island in Trail.  They slid across the highway and rolled down the bank towards the river.

We would like to thank the people who stopped to provide assistance and also to the fire department, the police department and the ambulance attendants.

Everyone walked away from the accident with minor injuries; however, we have many unanswered questions and some very serious concerns about the state of our highways and whether or not this accident could have been prevented.

We understand that we live in the Kootenays and that winter driving can be hazardous.  What concerns us is that this was the fourth accident that evening on that stretch of the road.  We were informed that the highway maintenance department was called after the first accident but did not respond.

The road that evening was like a sheet of ice, yet the road was not closed, nor was it sanded, even after maintenance was made aware of the problem.  I could have lost my entire family that evening.  I still shudder to think how that night could have turned out.

We are all still struggling to put this accident behind us and to get our lives back to normal again yet this is proving to be a little more difficult that what it seems.

Yes, everyone walked away with their lives and no major injuries, for this we are thankful.   Our vehicle and other items that were either lost or damaged in the accident can all be replaced.

Yet, we continue to wonder if this accident could have been prevented in the first place.  We feel that we did our part to ensure that we are as prepared as possible for Kootenay winter driving.  We had a sturdy vehicle in our Toyota 4-Runner, good winter tires, use of seat belts, and my husband was driving well below the speed limit.

Could a properly sanded road have prevented this accident and what accountability and responsibility is there on the part of company charged with maintaining the safety of our highways?  Did they do their job?

Within the last month, the city bus that my daughters take to school ended up sliding across the highway at the waterhole corner on the Rossland Hill.  A tow truck and two private vehicles were also in the ditch at the same time.  Is it my imagination or are the highways not being maintained to the same standard as in the past?

I cannot see how this is saving money when ICBC must be paying out a fortune in claims, at least for that night.  What is the value of my family? Maybe they are just a number on someone’s bottom line?

Tammy McLean


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