RoadHealth awards grants focused on reducing harm from motor vehicle crashes in the North

RoadHealth has awarded $60,000 in grants aimed at reducing harm from motor vehicle crashes in the North. Eleven organizations will use the funding to coordinate a variety of local initiatives in communities across the North.

“The breadth of projects represented by our RoadHealth grant recipients is exciting,” said MaryAnne Arcand, RoadHealth Coordinator and Forestry TruckSafe Manager. “The funding will help to target specific crash reduction issues in various communities and work towards enhancing regional road safety efforts.”

RoadHealth grant recipients include:

· Bulkley Valley Brain Injury Association (Smithers) – Booster seat education · Emergency Social Services (Hudson’s Hope) – Bike rodeo and road safety fair · Prince George Brain Injured Group – Vulnerable road users project · College of New Caledonia (Vanderhoof) – Best driver education · Wildlife Collision Prevention Program (Prince George) – Driver awareness campaign · NorthWest Logging Association (Terrace) – Truckwash power initiative · Starting Smart Program (Hazelton) – Caring community car seats project · Fort St. James Extrication Society – Vehicle extraction training · RCMP (Terrace) – North District seat belt project · University of Northern British Columbia – Wildlife accident research · Peace Country Joint Resources Road Safety

Northern Health contributed the initial funding to help launch RoadHealth’s community grant program. Grants were available to local community organizations and groups. Criteria included a demonstrated potential to improve road safety and partnership development.

“Road safety is something that we each can contribute to, both as drivers as well as crash prevention advocates,” said RoadHealth task force member and Northern Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. David Bowering. “As part of our ongoing grant program, we look forward to working with more community groups in the future, helping to develop innovative projects focused on preventing injury and saving lives.”

Formed in October 2005, RoadHealth is a regional task force made up of organizations committed to working on motor vehicle crash reduction initiatives in Northern British Columbia. RoadHealth partners currently include Northern Health, ICBC, Worksafe BC, BC Forest Safety Council, RCMP, Ministry of Transportation, BC Coroner’s Service, Ministry of Forests and Range, and the BC Ambulance Service.

What are the specific projects that will be funded by RoadHealth?

Strategies to Reduce Wildlife/Vehicle Crashes in Northern BC ($5,000) University of Northern British Columbia

An analysis of wildlife-vehicle collision data from ICBC, the Ministry of Transportation Wildlife Accident Reporting System (WARS) and other sources to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations on how to reduce or mitigate collisions between wildlife and vehicles. Matched funding received from ICBC. Partners include ICBC, Ministry of Transportation, Conservation Officer Service, RCMP, and the BC Conservation Foundation.

Bicycle and Road Safety Open House ($2,000) Emergency Social Services, Hudson’s Hope

This community of 1100 does not have public transportation of any kind, so the automobile and bicycle are essential for getting around. Lack of bus and taxi services exacerbates the incidence of drinking and driving. The Open House will focus on raising awareness among all age groups for vehicle and road safety, especially seatbelt use, drinking and driving, and speeding. With their partners (ICBC, RCMP, Hudson’s Hope Fire Dept, Canadian Rangers and Junior Rangers, BC Ambulance Service), the Open House will promote ways to mitigate, eliminate or avoid these hazards.

Booster Seat Education and Mobilization ($5,000) Bulkley Valley Brain Injury Association, Smithers

Children who have grown out of their baby seats but are too small for regular seat belts are called “the forgotten ones”. An alarming number of vehicle deaths and injuries are attributed to children being strapped into adult seat belts prematurely. With proper education and the means by which to obtain booster seats, this group believes that they can significantly reduce the incidence of death or injury of children involved in motor vehicle crashes. Partners include Smithers Child Care Resource and Referral, the Public Health Nurses and ICBC.

Joint Resource Industry Road Safety Initiative in the Peace ($8,000) BC

Forest Safety Council Northeast BC (Peace-Liard) is experiencing traffic volumes like never before, due to the rapid expansion of oil & gas development, mining and forestry. For the first time, the three major resource industries are getting together to address their common issues, and develop the liaisons and joint action plans necessary to reduce the number of crashes, increase the use of seatbelts, address the increased pressures on the road infrastructure, reduce the incidence of speeding, and examine the contribution of drug and alcohol abuse to crashes in the Peace. Driving/motor vehicle crashes are the highest causes of death in all three industries, and too often members of the public are also involved in these “interface crashes”. Partners include ICBC, RCMP, BC Ambulance Service, Ministry of Forests and Range, WorkSafeBC, Ministry of Transport, Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement, Northern Health, BC Coroners’ Service, BC Timber Sales, Enform, and several industry associations.

Vulnerable Road Users Safety Initiative ($5,000) Prince George

Brain Injured Group, Prince George A decrease in helmet use among both children and adult cyclists has resulted in an increase in head injuries. Cyclist inattention and poor road skills are also a major factor in motor vehicle/cyclist crashes, and 2/3 of cyclists who died as a result of a motor vehicle crash were not wearing their helmet. Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 85% and brain injury by 88%. This project will provide a number of interventions designed to raise awareness about road safety for cyclists, walkers and skateboarders, including a media campaign, the Ride Safe program for schools, street corner interventions, community research, an event at the skateboard park and an event called “Safety Jeopardy”. Partners include ICBC, RCMP, Yellowhead Road & Bridge, HRSDC, Northern Health, YAP, School District #57, Koops Bikes, Carney Hill Community Association, Ron Brent Community Association and the City of Prince George, among others.

Vehicle Extrication Training ($5,000)

Fort St. James Extrication Society, Fort St James This group has one of the largest response areas in BC, covering the highway between Ft St James and Vanderhoof as well as multiple forest service roads that lead to remote First Nations communities. By training their members (and purchasing the necessary equipment) the Society would reduce response times to crashes, buying valuable time for critically injured patients by getting them to hospital earlier, thereby reducing fatalities and improving patient outcomes.

North District Seatbelt Project ($5,000)

Terrace Road Safety Group On of the main causes of death and serious injury in collisions in northern BC is the fact that vehicle occupants are not wearing their seat belts. Seat belts are known to reduce deaths and injuries by up to 85%. This group is going to purchase a Rollover Simulator, to take to all the high schools in the RCMP’s North District (from 100 Mile House north to the Yukon border), as well as community events. A rollover simulator graphically demonstrates the consequences of not wearing seatbelts. Other funding has contributed to the overall cost, and all the funding is now in place. Partners include ICBC, Northern Health, RCMP, School Districts and the media.

Caring Car Seats ($5,000)

Starting Smart Prenatal Program/Stepping Stones Toddler Program, Hazelton This project will provide convertible car seats and proper car seat use education to families who would otherwise not be able to purchase one, or know how to use it appropriately. Education will include workshops in partnerships with ICBC, BC Ambulance Service, Northern Health, RCMP, and the Community Health Advisory Council.

BestDriver Program ($10,000)

College of New Caledonia, Vanderhoof

Because of challenges with literacy, comprehension, language, test anxiety and information retention, people with learning challenges often are unable to pass drivers exams and tests. The proposed BestDriver Program will adapt the current drivers manual and materials to the specific needs of young adults and other students of all ages. The course will break down the information into easily understood components. A pilot will be done later this year with Fort St. James Secondary, and will hopefully develop into a curriculum for all northern BC high schools.

Clean equals Safe ($5,000)

NorthWest Loggers Association, Terrace

Truckers use the truckwash to clean their equipment, helping them spot mechanical defects, and keeping lights and signals clean and visible. During the spring fall and winter this truckwash’s use has been limited because of a lack of lighting. The group will use the funding to bring power to the truckwash for lighting the area. The truckwash is used by logging trucks, fuel trucks and dump trucks, as well as various pieces of equipment. Partners include Western Brushing and Ditching, and the BC Forest Safety Council. Labor will be provided by volunteer members of the NWLA.

Wildlife Collision Prevention Program Public Awareness Campaign ($5,000)

BC Conservation Foundation, Prince George This campaign will utilize various media formats to educate and inform the public about wildlife-vehicle collisions and how they can be anticipated and avoided. A radio advertising campaign, magazine ads and rest stop signage are some of the methods that will be used to build awareness for motorists. Partners include ICBC, BC Parks, Initiatives Prince George, and the Ministry of Transportation.

When will the next RoadHealth community grants be offered?

Additional funding will made available through future calls for proposals. At this time, RoadHealth is planning to issue a call for new proposals in the coming fall.

Who was eligible to apply for these grants?

The grants were available to local community organizations and groups, not individuals or businesses.

What was the funding criteria for the grants?

Funding criteria for the grants included:

· Demonstrated potential to improve road safety · Partnership development · Budget plan · Project evaluation checklist

What is RoadHealth?

Formed in October 2005 at the Crossroads Conference (held in Prince George), RoadHealth is a new regional task force comprised of organizations hoping to make a difference in the harm caused through motor vehicle crashes in the North. RoadHealth partners currently include Northern Health, ICBC, Worksafe BC, BC Forest Safety Council, RCMP, Ministry of Transportation, BC Coroner’s Service, Ministry of Forests and Range, and the BC Ambulance Service.

RoadHealth members are committed to working on crash reduction initiatives in Northern British Columbia, and are currently developing a regional strategy that includes community grant funding, public education, sharing of information, and coordinated safety campaigns between agencies.