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A Strategic Approach to Road Safety – How to Shore Up ICBC Financially by Focusing on Root Cause Prevention

The following recommendations were obtained from the PROVINCIAL HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT ON ROAD SAFETY Presented By: Drs. Perry Kendall, Provincial Health Officer and Bonnie Henry, Deputy Provincial Health Officer on March 31, 2016.

We present it here as an alternative to the proposed No-Fault insurance scheme announced in February 2020. An approach focused on root cause prevention of accidents would be a win-win for the government and the province. The No-Fault is a win for the government, and a huge loss for the victims of motor vehicle accidents.

A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO ROAD SAFETY

1. Support the BC Road Safety Strategy, and work collaboratively across all levels of government and with non-government partners to achieve Vision Zero, including having “the safest roads in North America and work[ing] toward an ultimate goal of zero traffic fatalities” as laid out in the provincial strategy, British Columbia Road Safety Strategy: 2015 and Beyond.

2. Establish and resource an independent Centre for Excellence in Road Safety in BC to work in collaboration with the steering committee and working groups for the BC Road Safety Strategy. This centre should be university based with a priority mandate to collect, analyse, and house provincial and community-level data related to road safety and MVCs.

3. Employ the principles of a Safe System Approach in all relevant policies and programs in BC. This approach considers road users, safe speeds, safe roadway design, and safe vehicle design in strategies and initiatives, and considers motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries as systemic failures that are inherently preventable.

4. Focus provincial strategies, programs and policies regarding roadways and infrastructure on the health and safety of vulnerable road users, and increase opportunities for safe, active transportation and public transportation. This should include commitments to develop vulnerable road user and active transportation-friendly plans in each region of BC, and includes modifying intersections and other roadway infrastructure according to evidence-based safety designs.

SAFE ROAD USERS

5. Establish a more consistent approach to education, enforcement, and related penalties for the top three contributing factors in motor vehicle crash injuries and fatalities in BC: impairment, distraction, and speed.

6. Extend the required zero (0.00) Blood Alcohol Content for new drivers beyond completion of the Graduated Licensing Program, to age 25.

7. Continue to reduce alcohol-impaired driving through expansion and evaluation of policies and strategies that limit the availability of alcohol as per recommendations in the report, Public Health Approach to Alcohol Policy: An Updated Report from the Provincial Health Officer.

8. Improve capacity to identify impaired driving. This includes developing objective measures to assess impairment from all types of drugs, and supporting for research to better understand the impact of the use of all types of drugs on driving ability.

9. Support existing campaigns and increase public awareness of the laws designed to eliminate the use of cell phones and other handheld devices while driving.

10. Develop a strategy to assist individuals with physical, cognitive, and/or visual impairment—whether due to age or other factors—to be safe road users with ongoing independence and mobility in their communities.

SAFE SPEEDS

11. Set speed limits throughout the province based on roadway type with consideration of the most vulnerable road users who frequent each type of roadway and the associated survivable speed during an MVC for those road users. This includes monitoring and assessing the impacts of any increases in speed limits introduced.

12. Amend the Motor Vehicle Act to reduce the default speed limit on roads within municipalities and treaty lands from 50 km/h to a maximum of 30 km/h (the survivable speed for pedestrians and cyclists).

13. Establish appropriate speed limits for road and weather conditions and increase related driver awareness and education.

14. Implement electronic speed management province-wide. This could include speed cameras, point-to-point speed control, or other speed monitoring technologies. The program should be transparent, with any income generated being allocated to funding additional road safety programs including a Centre for Excellence in Road Safety

SAFE ROADWAYS

15. Ensure that roadways in BC are safe for all road users by prioritizing pedestrian and cyclist health and safety in roadway and intersection design. This includes evaluating and improving existing intersections and roadways as appropriate, and new or improved infrastructure being evidence based.

16. Continue to increase the safety of highways and rural and remote roads by implementing and/or expanding evidence-based road safety technologies and methods that can reduce MVC fatalities and serious injuries.

SAFE VEHICLES

17. Collaborate with car manufacturers and encourage them to promote safety features that align with evidence-based best practices. This should include the expansion of safety features that come standard in new vehicles, and mechanisms to prevent unsafe driving behaviour.

18. Implement a vehicle safety testing program in BC that requires regular basic vehicle safety checks (e.g., of tires, brakes, steering) as a condition of vehicle insurance and offers incentives to British Columbians to acquire safety technologies.

19. Increase the safety of vehicles imported into Canada and BC by requiring vehicles up to 25 years old to meet safety standards (up from the current 15 years) and eliminating the importation of right-hand drive vehicles into the province.

20. Regulate and set limits on the kind of vehicle modifications allowed in BC. This includes, but is not limited to, restricting how high a vehicle can be raised and prohibiting bull bars in urban areas.

21. Collaborate with professional associations to reduce MVCs involving commercial vehicles. This includes implementation of new crash avoidance and safety technologies, evaluation and improvement of processes for monitoring vehicle maintenance, and improved monitoring and regulation of driver conditions and behaviours such as driver fatigue. 32

ROAD SAFETY FOR ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES

22. Following principles of ownership, control, access, and possession (OCAP), support the development of community-driven research on MVC fatalities and serious injuries, including associated risk factors and appropriate interventions for Aboriginal peoples in BC.

23. Continue to support the First Nations Health Authority to develop an Aboriginal injury prevention strategy that has key targets for improving road safety. This strategy should include improving first responder programs in rural and remote First Nations communities, and increasing awareness about seat belt use and safe driving.

24. Implement the Aboriginal Administrative Data Standard in organizations that collect MVC and related data, including ICBC for traffic claims data; police for Traffic Accident System data (police-recorded data); and health authorities for hospitalization data.

EDUCATION, AWARENESS, AND ENFORCEMENT

25. Using evidence-based best practices, reinvigorate road safety campaigns for road users, with particular emphasis on the populations with the heaviest burden of MVC fatalities and serious injuries— including males, people ages 16-25 and 76 and up, Aboriginal peoples, and those in rural and remote communities—and targeting specific health and safety concerns. This may include both the use of traditional methods such as school seminars and mainstream media, and modern methods such as social media.

26. Use a healthy communities approach to increase road safety among all school-aged children and youth, particularly with respect to pedestrian and cycling safety.

27. Develop a comprehensive education plan for youth that leverages the stages and requirements of BC’s Graduated Licensing Program with the goal of increasing education and training about the top contributing factors to motor vehicle crashes: speed, impairment, and distraction.

28. Increase public education and awareness of the risks and consequences of speed, road user distraction, and all forms of impaired driving, and expand related enforcement efforts. This should include awareness of the increase in injury severity as speed increases; the impact of using handheld devices while driving; and the array of impacts that result from alcohol and other substances such as legal and illegal drugs (e.g., marijuana, prescription medication), as well as cognitive impairment and fatigue.


Here are the reports related to focusing on motor vehicle accident prevention in Canada and more specifically British Columbia:

BC’s Road Safety Strategy 2015 and Beyond

BC Communities Road Safety Survey

Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2025

Moving to Vision Zero: Road Safety Strategy Update and Showcase of Innovation in British Columbia

BC Provincial Health Officer’s Report on Road Safety

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Reducing the Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashed on Health & Well-being in BC

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