It’s the fifth time Hidedki Mimura has visted Kelowna, the first two were to see his daughter Melissa Mimura while she was attending UBC Okanagan, the last three times were to remember her at a vigil.
Flying from Japan every November for the last three years Mimura has come to speak at the World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims in Kelowna.
“I’ve been coming since our beloved daughter Melissa was killed on the Coquihalla Highway on Sunday, April 2, 2017,” he said at the event on Wednesday evening.
The eighth annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims is organized by lawyer Paul Hergott to remember those killed or seriously injured on Canadian roads.
“There are 16 fatalities in British Columbia approximately every three weeks,” said Hergott. “But, those fatalities just ring and they ring and they ring.
Unless we think about the hundreds who are injured for every fatality we won’t have the motivation to have anything to change it. That is what a day of remembrance for road crash victims is all about.”
Mimura was one of several people who have lost loved ones to traffic-related incidents that attended the memorial event in the Orchard Park Mall parking lot.
He said he doesn’t just attend the event so people can hear his story, he also hopes it will push politicians and judges to make road safer.
“The guy who killed Melissa only got $1,500 fine, no suspension or cancellation of his license,” said Mimura. “And, because she was a student there is no compensation.”
Hergott continues to hold the World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims in Kelowna to not only bring attention to road safety, but also bring about change for the better.
“The fact of the matter is our road safety policies in B.C. have been absolutely atrocious. We are going backward instead of forward,” he said.
Hergott points to distracted driving as one of the biggest problems.
“Science has told us that hands-free cell-phone use is identically distracting (as hand-held), yet we tell the road driving public it is OK to talk away on the cell phone as long as it’s hands-free,” explained Hergott. “This sets us backwards for road safety.”