The Campbell River Fire Department has reported a dramatic increase in motor vehicle incidents on two highways near the city. Highway 28, which runs west from Campbell River to Gold River, and Highway 19 north of the city heading to Sayward have both seen an increase in incidents over the same time last year.
“We do road rescue calls outside of the city boundary in those particular areas. We’re certainly noticing an increase in those particular routes. Some are single-vehicle, some are multi-vehicle, a number of them are over the bank,” said Fire Chief Thomas Doherty.
The fire department responds to motor vehicle incidents on both of those highways. Highways south of the city are covered by the Oyster River Fire Department.
According to a tweet from the department, they’re experiencing a 43 per cent increase in motor vehicle incidents along Hwy. 28 and the North Island Highway (Hwy. 19) this year compared to last year.
Travel safe this labour day weekend. CR Fire is experiencing a 43% increase in motor vehicle incidents along Hwy 28 & 19 North this year compared to last year.
— Campbell River Fire (@RiverCityFire) September 6, 2020
But Doherty isn’t sure what is causing the increase in incidents.
“It’s a bit unusual,” he said. “During the initial stages of COVID, we certainly saw a drop in motor vehicle incidences, because nobody was travelling around. Those incidents have climbed dramatically.”
Doherty also said that incidents within the city limits have stayed the same as in previous years.
The tweet was sent as a reminder to keep safe over the long weekend. Over the weekend, Doherty said things were fairly straightforward. Crews responded to a minor fire in a barbecue, a few motor vehicle incidents and some unattended fires.
“Just watch your speeds and pay attention,” Doherty said. “Those highways are tricky to navigate, especially on the turns. If you’re going at a higher rate of speed than posted there’s a tendency to overcompensate for the turns.”