ICBC gets a failing grade in my books when it comes to road safety expertise and providing accurate data about road safety. Their most recent attempt at obtaining a 5.2% rate increase is filled with misleading propaganda trying to convince drivers that there is suddenly a distracted driving catastrophe about to occur in our Province.
The fact is, Canada has seen an unbelievable improvement in road safety over the past 40 years, with fatalities being reduced by 60%. I have been a personal injury lawyer for 20 of those years and have also noticed a decrease in fatal accident injury claims in BC.
There is no distracted driving epidemic in British Columbia leading to an increase in personal injuries. The fact remains that the key contributing factors to car accident injuries are alcohol, drugs, speed, aggressive driving, distraction, fatigue, occupant protection. Road safety experts in Canada also point to environmental factors such as road infrastructure and weather conditions as other factors leading to motor vehicle accident injuries. These factors are based on independent research conducted by by Transport Canada Motor Vehicle Safety with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
If ICBC was truly focused on our road safety, and not on getting an insurance rate increase, ICBC would be focused on reducing the number a vehicles on the road and preparing for the increase in elderly and age impaired drivers.
By 2020, about 20% of the Canadian population may be aged 65 or over and compared to previous generations, a greater percentage of seniors will want to continue driving well into their eighties. ICBC currently encourages seniors to get on the road and drive with senior driver discounts and benefits. ICBC has reported that seniors are no more likely to have an accident than younger drivers, for which most road safety experts would disagree.
Has ICBC recently studied the challenges seniors face as drivers? Is enough being done by ICBC to ensure that seniors remain safe behind the wheel of a vehicle or as a pedestrian? Has ICBC considered other modes of travel for those seniors no longer fit to drive such as ride-sharing? Do we know how seniors in BC want to remain mobile?
The UN estimates that about one in ten hospital beds are occupied by victims of a motor vehicle collision. In order to respond to this social problem British Colombians must understand why it is happening. This understanding requires complete, accurate and timely data.
The ongoing use of telecommunications and telematics technology by drivers does need to be addressed. The use of a hand held device combined with alcohol, drugs, speed, aggressive driving, and fatigue can and has proven to be fatal. To however use the tragedy of distracted driving to justify a 5.2% insurance rate increase borders on reprehensible for a body entrusted with promoting road safety.
For more discussion about the ICBC rate increase read my article about ICBC distracted driving rate increase.
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.- Views expressed are those of the writer and not the legal community as a whole.
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