British Columbia is the most dangerous province to drive a car in Canada according to several studies and surveys over recent years. With less than half the population of Ontario and with less than half the number of drivers on the roads, the statistics for B.C. are worrying.
The provinces health officer has now issued a new report that urges the government to adopt new harsher rule for drivers and other road users. Among them is a no tolerance approach to alcohol for young drivers, making a 0.00 blood alcohol limit for drivers of 25 years and younger. A reduction of the standard speed limit has also been recommended, down to 30 km/h.
"We've made some good progress. There's some really good news out there. Road vehicle fatalities in B.C. have decreased by about 42 per cent since 1996, so that's the good news," said deputy provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Rubber Meets the Road: Reducing the Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes on Health and Well-being in B.C. is a report that has 28 recommendations for the provincial government to consider. 79,000 per year are injured on roads in British Columbia each year and around 280 people are killed.
18 per 100,000 people in the Northern Health region
16.3 per 100,000 people in the Interior Health region
2.3 per 100,000 people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region
Provincial average: 6.9 per 100,000 people
"Now we need to switch the focus, and by switching that focus and making the roads safer for all users, we can bring those fatalities down, hopefully to zero. Nobody in B.C. should be dying on our roads," said Henry.
"We've given examples of what we think needs to be done. How it gets done is something that's going to have to be worked out in concert with a number of people across the province," said Henry.
"All of the recommendations are based on data, so we do think there's evidence to support these recommendations, but many of them will be a negotiations," she said. "I think some of the speed limit suggestions that we have, which we feel that are strongly based on evidence, they're going to take some negotiations, some time."