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Fourteen fatal crashes on northern B.C. roads this winter

Weather, increased commercial traffic cited for increase

plough prince george december.JPG
A plough clears streets after a heavy snowfall in Prince George.

There have been fourteen fatal crashes on northern B.C. roads since November 1st, resulting in even more fatalities.

RCMP were not able to provide the exact number of dead, but know that there have been fourteen fatal collisions, some resulting in more than one death.

This compares to eleven fatal crashes during the same period last winter. 

RCMP note that fatal crashes have been declining over the past six years, but are still concerned about this year's numbers.

Sergeant Pat McTiernan is with North District RCMP traffic services in Prince George. He says that there is normally a decrease in crashes following the busy holiday season, but they haven't seen a decline this January. 

"The question was OK, well what suddenly happened this year. Normally January, February, it dies for us. So I said, 'what's different?'

McTiernan believes erratic weather is a major factor. He notes there has been more snow, and that snow can hide ice patches. There has also been unseasonable rain this winter, creating icy ruts that create dangerous conditions.

McTiernan also says many of the crashes involve commercial vehicles. He points out, however, that in many cases it is the passenger vehicle that has come into the path of the truck.

"We see an increase in commercial vehicles in the north. The key now is to educate the rest of the public how to behave around a commercial vehicle, and also educate the commercial vehicle drivers on what they need to do around the smaller traffic."

Among recent fatalities are 27-year-old man from Prince Rupert who crashed with a gravel truck on Tuesday, a 56-year-old man and 79-year-old woman whose vehicle got stuck in an rut before colliding head-on with a tractor trailer unit on Monday, and a 56-year-old man from McBride who died near the Purden Ski hill after colliding with a tractor trailer last week.

For more on this story, Daybreak's Betsy Trumpener spoke with CBC News Reporter Marissa Harvey:

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