ICBC released a public thank you last week to volunteers with the Smithers and Burns Lake Speed Watch programs. The notice was timed to coincide with National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 10 to 16.
Run out of the Community Police office, the program consists of about eight volunteers who display radar speeds to oncoming drivers; the result of the personal presence of the volunteers is usually slower drivers. ICBC research shows that over 70 per cent of speeding drivers slow down when they see the speed-reader board.
Northwest ICBC Road Safety Coordinator Dave Turko said the work done by the volunteers is essential in helping with trouble spots and general accident prevention.
“We’re trying to change people’s habits,” said Turko.
In 2010, volunteers in Smithers and Burns Lake contributed over 100 hours to the program. Speed related crashes have been decreasing over the last five years, and ICBC officials believe programs like the local Speed Watch play a big role in that improvement.
“If you phone the police, they can’t necessarily come out every day to watch a particular road,” he said. “Fortunately for us, Smithers has fantastic volunteers for this.”