Tribute to take place at MacIsland

NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ROAD CRASH VICTIMS 

By CAROL CHRISTIAN, Connect Contributor

A demolished vehicle on display at Tim Hortons downtown in September 2014. This was part of the Coalition for a Safer 63 & 881’s The Pledge campaign. Over 4,000 Albertans have pledged to be safer drivers. Take the pledge and learn more at safer63and881.com/thepledge. FILE PHOTO

A demolished vehicle on display at Tim Hortons downtown in September 2014. This was part of the Coalition for a Safer 63 & 881’s The Pledge campaign. Over 4,000 Albertans have pledged to be safer drivers. Take the pledge and learn more at safer63and881.com/thepledge. FILE PHOTO

Drive with Caution. Future Ahead… That’s the sobering theme of this year’s National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, a tribute led by The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administration (CCMTA).

Locally, the day will be marked from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on November 18 in the main concourse of the Suncor Community Leisure Centre at MacDonald Island Park. This commemoration will host any and all who would like to attend with a special invitation to survivors and family who have lost loved ones in crashes. The event is to offer a moment of silence and a candle light vigil.

Important information will also be available for people to take home to educate themselves on road safety and ensure they are hopefully not the ones to be remembered in years to come at these events; a wish reflected in the theme. Come talk to law enforcement, safety experts and community safety advocates at the local event being hosted by Safe Community Wood Buffalo (SCWB).

“It’s more like a drop-by event for public knowledge,” explained Melanie Murrin, SCWB impact youth co-ordinator and event organizer. “It’s also informative for new and younger drivers in the community to inform them, for example, of enforcement penalties.”

She added there will be a special guest attending the event whose story – printed and framed – will be unveiled during the tribute.

This is someone who was severely injured on a residential road in Timberlea in 2012. His story will be added to the collection of stories SCWB used to tell tales of survival, as well as, sharing memories from families who have lost loved ones on the roadways within the Fort McMurray area.

The Coalition for a Safer 63 & 881 has partnered with SCWB for the event because it is important to remember those who lost their lives on 63 and 881.

“The coalition continues to look for partners, such as Safe Community Wood Buffalo, to work with because their number one mandate is safety, and they are well rooted and understand their community very well,” explains Debbie Hammond, coalition executive director.

This is the fifth annual National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims held in Fort McMurray. It’s been held since SCWB received its host designation in 2010 from the World Health Organization (WHO) to proclaim the day in the Wood Buffalo region.

“It’s to have a day to remember and honour those who have been injured or have lost their lives on our local highways,” said Debbie Hammond.

“It’s to have a day to remember and honour those who have been injured or have lost their lives on our local highways.”

Hammond agrees, adding: “We want to increase awareness of this event; by increasing awareness we have more conversation around the topic of traffic collisions and the importance of making safe choices behind the wheel. For me, more awareness equals more conversation and that is a good thing.”

With Highway 63 now 99% twinned, it has increased the safety on the highway, which has earned several negative nicknames, such as: Highway of Death, over the years as a result of the number of deadly crashes on it.

“That’s an impression that we’re hoping to see disappear,” said Murrin of the highway’s deadly distinction. “We know (the twinning) is going to make a big difference in reducing the number of collisions that we do have for such crashes as head-on collisions. However, speed does still seem to be quite the issue out there because now they know they don’t have somebody coming directly at them. We still do want to keep a big focus in that area.”

Canada’s commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims generally occurs on the Wednesday following the third Sunday of November, according to the CCMTA. For more information, visit www.roadcrashvictims.ccmta.ca.

– Connect Weekly –