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Holiday concerns: 9 in 10 car accidents in Canada are preventable

With the border between Canada and the United States open again, traffic between Vancouver and Seattle will likely return to pre-closure volumes. Many people on both sides of the border might plan trips to loved ones across the border to compensate for the lost time. However, the excitement might overshadow the importance of safe and sober driving. According to The Public Health Agency of Canada, 90% of vehicle accidents nationwide are preventable.

As the holidays are imminent, the concern for people driving away from festivities while impaired is rising. In 2018, before border closure, statistics show that 1,759 Canadians lost their lives in road accidents, and 23,872 suffered severe injuries. However, the report does not indicate how many of those accidents were caused by impaired drivers.

Impaired drivers risk their own and other people’s lives

Sadly, impaired driving is a risk even faced by sober motorists. For people from Vancouver choosing to spend some of the holidays south of the border, the chances of becoming cross-border crash victims are significant. Traffic authorities provided the following information:

  • The most prominent factor contributing to serious road accidents is driving under the influence
  • Drug or alcohol impairment is one of the leading causes of crashes among young drivers between ages 16 and 25.
  • Marijuana impairs drivers’ reaction time and control of their vehicles and compromises a driver’s ability to maintain a safe following distance.
  • Judgment and coordination are jeopardized at 0.05 blood alcohol concentration.
  • Steering and tracking moving objects are impaired long before maximum legal BAC is reached.
  • As impairment increases, alertness becomes limited and emergency response nonexistent.

Road safety authorities urge drivers to stay over or share rides home after consuming alcohol or using cannabis. Those with no plans to drink and drive might be wise to learn how to spot impaired drivers. Although damages might be recoverable, cross-border personal injury claims in civil courts and insurance claims are significantly more complicated when British Columbia and Washington laws and insurance standards come into play.

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