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Aug 15, 2007

Right-hand drive vehicles more likely to get into crashes, says ICBC

North Vancouver, British Columbia - A study conducted by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) concludes that right-hand drive vehicles are over 40 per cent more likely to get into a crash over similar left-hand drive vehicles. The study was undertaken in response to a dramatic increase in the number of right-hand drive vehicles being imported into B.C. and other parts of Canada. Currently, imported vehicles that are 15 years old, or older, need to meet provincial standards and pass an inspection before being allowed on the road, but they do not need to meet Canadian Motor Vehicles Safety Standards.

The research looked at whether the right-hand drive configuration leads to increased crash risk, and whether these vehicles offer less protection to passengers than built-for-Canada vehicles of a similar age.

"In the study, we found that the average time for a crash to occur after first purchasing a right-hand drive vehicle was 223 days, which is 68 per cent sooner than for left-hand drive vehicles, which was 705 days," says Peter Cooper, ICBC Manager, Performance Analysis Services. "Based on an analysis of the claims data, there was no evidence to suggest that the right-hand drive vehicles offer less protection."

It is estimated that more than 200 right-hand drive vehicles are imported into B.C. every month. Transport Canada is currently reviewing the 15-year importation rule, and as part of the review, it is expected to hold a national consultation session later this fall, with participation invited from motor vehicle administrators, importer associations and the general public.

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