TOLL-FREE 604-684-4211

Do cross-border drivers face a greater risk for vehicle collisions?

The crisscrossing roadways between Vancouver and Seattle make it simple for individuals to dine, work or find entertainment across international borders. Unfortunately, a motor vehicle accident across the border can add numerous layers of complexity to an already challenging legal process.

While it might be difficult to extrapolate the data to represent drivers in a tourist or vacationer role, a study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, found recent-immigrant drivers were 40 to 50% less likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision. Like less experienced drivers, these recent immigrants tend to drive in a more cautious or careful manner. Psychologically, a tourist or visitor might share this same wariness on the roads. For example, Canadian drivers might be more concerned with reaching their destination without harm than multitasking while behind the wheel. They might be hyper-attentive and aware of their environment.

Unfortunately, drivers who are more comfortable with their surroundings might be more likely to overestimate their skill level and ignore safe driving habits. Drivers might engage in unsafe vehicle operation practices such as:

  • Distracted driving: Any activity which pulls attention from the road or a hand from the steering wheel can be considered a distraction. These activities can include eating, drinking, personal grooming, talking on a cell phone, checking email, texting or manipulating a navigation system. Commonly, activities are categorized as cognitive distractions, visual distractions or manual distractions.
  • Drowsy driving: It is not uncommon for drivers to get behind the wheel early in the morning or late at night. Additionally, individuals might struggle with conditions such as sleep apnea or insomnia that dramatically affect their situational awareness. Being drowsy behind the wheel can lead to dulled perceptions, slowed reaction times and blurred vision – all of which can result in vehicle collisions.
  • Impaired driving: A driver’s perceptions, attention and reactions can be impacted by the consumption of alcohol or the use of a controlled substance. Additionally, individuals can see a diminishment of driving skill after taking prescription or strong over the counter medication. Any of these substances can lead to driving impairment.

Canadian drivers who are involved in a motor vehicle accident on foreign soil will likely face a challenging process. From disputes with the insurance carrier to different compensation caps, it is wise to seek the guidance of a law firm focused on cross-border legal issues.