Research Papers

Reduction in fatalities, ambulance calls and hospital admissions for road trauma following new traffic laws

Version 1
Date added June 13, 2014
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Category 2014 CMRSC XXIV Vancouver
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 1A
Author/Auteur Jeffrey R Brubacher, MD, MSc, Herbert Chan, PhD, Ediweera Desapriya, PhD, Penelope Brasher, PhD, Shannon Erdelyi, MSc,
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

1A Brubacher_Reduction in fatalities, ambulance calls cna hospital admissions



In 2010, BC introduced changes to the BC Motor Vehicle Act that targeted common driver-related risk factors for crashing.9, 10  The new traffic laws included 1) Cell Phone Ban (Feb, 2010): Motorists who used unpermitted electronic devices while driving would be fined $167, 2) Immediate Roadside Penalties (IRPs) for drinking drivers (Sept 2010): The IRP for a first time impaired driving offence (BAC > 0.05%) is a 3-day vehicle impoundment and 3-day license suspension. Second and third offenses result in higher penalties. Drivers with a BAC > 0.08% are subject to an immediate 30 day vehicle impoundment, a 90-day license suspension, and mandatory installation of an alcohol interlock device on their vehicle for one year, and 3) IRPs for speeding (Sept 2010): The IRPs for racing or excessive speeding include 7 – 60 days of vehicle impoundment.


To evaluate the effects of BC’s new traffic laws on fatal crashes, insurance claims, hospital admissions and ambulance calls for road trauma.


We used de-identified administrative data and obtained approval from our institutional research ethics board. Briefly, we used autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) interrupted time-series analyses to model the impact of the new laws on various types of crashes and medical events.


The estimated mean reductions in alcohol, speeding and distraction related fatal crashes in British Columbia were found to be 54.8% (95%CI: 41.9, 64.9%), 32.9% (95%CI: 19.4, 44.2%) and 15.1% (95%CI: 1.4, 27.0%) indicating respective monthly decreases of 1.47, 1.16 and 0.37 fatal crashes per 1,000,000 driver population.

After accounting for pre-existing trends, we found an 8.0% (95% CI: 0.6, 14.9%) reduction of in hospital admissions and a 7.2% (95% CI: 1.1, 13.0%) reduction in ambulance calls due to road trauma. These reductions correspond to a monthly decrease of 5.7 hospital admissions and 47.3 ambulance calls per 1,000,000 population.

There was no reduction in the total number of insurance claims, nor for claims involving rear end collisions. There was, however, a 12.5% (95% CI: 9.2, 15.6%) reduction in claims for single night-time crashes.

Our findings suggest that the amendments to BC’s Motor Vehicle Act significantly reduced adverse outcomes from crashes caused by alcohol, speeding or distracted driving.

Jeffrey R Brubacher, MD, MSc, Herbert Chan, PhD, Ediweera Desapriya, PhD, Penelope Brasher, PhD, Shannon Erdelyi, MSc,