Report focuses on common causes of fatal traffic accidents

A report recently released by British Columbia’s provincial health officer is drawing attention to some of the most common causes of fatal traffic accidents in the province. According to Global News, the report focuses on speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving as some of the leading causes of fatal car accidents and includes a number of recommendations for addressing those problems. While the traffic fatality rate in British Columbia has declined in recent years, health officials note that certain groups of people are still more at risk of being killed or injured in an accident than are others.

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Leading causes of fatal accidents

Between 2008 and 2012, the report notes, the top contributing factors in fatal traffic accidents in British Columbia were speed and distracted or impaired driving. Each year an average of about 280 people are killed on public roads in British Columbia, while a further 79,000 people are injured.

Additionally, the report notes that certain road users are more at risk than others. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, for example, made up about a third of traffic fatalities in 2013, with such fatal accidents most likely to occur at intersections. Additionally, rural areas had disproportionately high rates of traffic fatalities. According to CBC News, the fatality rate in the Interior Health Region was 16.3 per 100,000 people between 2008 and 2012, while in the Northern Health region it was 18 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the fatality rate in the Vancouver Coastal Health region was 2.3 per 100,000 people.

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Addressing the problem

The report includes a number of recommendations that its authors say will help address the most common causes of fatal road accidents. Pointing out that the risk of a fatal traffic accident increases for young men once they reach the legal drinking age, the report recommends a 0.00 blood alcohol content limit for all drivers aged 25 and under.

Additionally, to address concerns about speeding, the report recommends lowering the default speed limit for municipalities and treaty lands to 30 km/h. Prioritizing vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, in road design was also recommended. Because the recommendations would require the approval of lawmakers and various jurisdictions in order to be implemented, there is not guarantee that they will become law. Rather, the report’s authors say that the recommendations should be considered a starting point for opening up a debate on improving traffic safety.

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Personal injury law

As the above article suggests, many accidents in British Columbia are the result of drivers making poor and even dangerous decisions, such as speeding or driving while distracted or impaired. For those who have been injured in an accident, especially an accident where the other driver may have been at fault, compensation could be key to helping them receive the care and treatment they need in order to recover. A personal injury lawyer can show accident victims what legal options they have at their disposal and help guide them through the claims process.

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