PHO’s Annual Report (2011): Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Reducing the Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVCs) on Health and Well-being in BC

Since 1993, British Columbia’s (BC) Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has been required by the Public Health Act to report annually to British Columbians on their health status and on the need for policies and programs that will improve their health.

The most recent publication, “PHO’s Annual Report (2011): Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Reducing the Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVCs) on Health and Well-being in BC,” focuses on road safety in BC.

The report examines road safety and MVCs in BC using a comprehensive safe system approach (including safe road users, safe speeds, safe roadways, and safe vehicles) in combination with both a population and public health approach.

The aim of the report is to support and advance the health of the BC population as a whole, while examining sub-populations that face a greater burden of MVC serious injuries and fatalities. Analyses explore data according to road user type, age, sex, and health authority area. Analyses also examine road safety for Aboriginal peoples and communities. The report concludes with 28 recommendations for reducing the burden of MVCs and improving road safety in BC.

Highlights:

  • The MVC fatality rate in BC has substantially declined over time, from 18.4 deaths per 100,000 in 1996 to approximately one-third that rate in recent years.
  • For 2008-2012, MVC fatality rates were 18.0 per 100,000 population in Northern Health and 16.3 per 100,000 in Interior Health—both much higher than the BC average of 6.9 per 100,000.
  • In 2006, the age-standardized MVC fatality rate for Status Indians (18.8 per 100,000) was more than double that of other BC residents (7.1 per 100, 000)
  • Drivers aged 16-25 and 76 and up have the highest MVC fatality rates for both males and females.
  • Vulnerable road users (those without the protection of an enclosed vehicle) made up 53.3 % of intersection fatalities in BC in 2009-2013.
  • In 2011, distraction surpassed impairment as the second highest contributing factor (after speed) to MVC fatalities in BC.
  • Across almost every age group males have at least double the impaired-related MVC fatality rate as females.
  • Between 2008-2012, 23.7 % of fatal MVCs had one or more contributing factors that were related to the roadway environment—road condition and weather were the most common.
  • Right-hand drive vehicles have been associated with a 39 to 60 % increased risk of MVC compared to left-hand drive vehicles in BC.
  • Among fatal MVCs with one or more contributing factors related to vehicle design in BC in 2008-2012, tire failure/inadequacy was by far the most often reported, being cited in 56.5 % of these MVCs.

For a complete breakdown of all 28 recommendations for reducing the burden of MVCs and improving road safety in BC please visit pages 210-216 of the report.

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