Young Driver Deaths: BC Coroners Service

SoapboxThe BC Coroners Service released recommendations today with the hope of mitigating something that we are already aware of, the fact that motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of death for youth aged 15 to 18. The first two suggest that we study aspects of the issue in more detail and the third that the Ministry of Justice should develop and implement automated speed enforcement. I agree that a thorough understanding of the issue and a review of other jurisdictions best practices may lead to solutions but the devil and I will probably go ice skating together before automated speed enforcement returns to our province.

I'm going to climb up on my soapbox and pronounce that what we really need is a significant attitude adjustment for many drivers in BC regardless of how old they are. In fact, a lot of the behavioural adjustment is probably needed among the older drivers that these young people learn from. Look around you the next time your are out. The majority of drivers will not follow the speed limit. Sloppy driving practices of all kinds abound. Rarely do I see a conscientious defensive driver who takes pride in driving correctly and exercising courtesy to others.

Some parents do not effectively monitor their children as they learn to drive. The responsibility does not end when you hand over the keys. You must set the limits and then be there when the keys come back after the drive to make sure that they are followed. GLP drivers must have a zero (none, not any, nada) blood alcohol when they drive yet many drive to parties that involve alcohol on the weekends with passenger loads that are contrary to the conditions of their licence.

How do we create drivers that want to follow safe and proper driving practices? I wish that I had the answer to that for you. There would be a lot more to gain than lowering the death rate among young drivers. We would also save significant amounts of money in health care and vehicle insurance and actually create money through increased productivity. Even the environment would benefit through reduced pollution and carbon emissions. Maybe attitude is everything.

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I could not agree with you more.  The situation does not start with the young driver, it starts in the home.  If the parents are not willing to take responsibility, how can we possibly expect the children to?  How many times have we seen an "L" on the rear window, with an adult driving, and watched the vehicle speed by, make no indications of lane change or turning, or talk/text on their phone.  Children learn from their parents, and they learn driving attitudes from them first hand.  Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  Bad drivers make bad teachers, yet they do not believe themselves to be so, and the negative attitudes become learned responses.

"Maybe attitude is everything" . My personal opinion is there is no maybe about it. It is everything. In our society EVERYTHING anyone wants to do is a "right", and they are going to let you know it.
Perhaps if we started, or rather got back to teaching people that driving a vehicle is a privilege and not a right, and showing people how important following the rules are, regardless of whether they like them or not, then maybe we could start to see a change. The only problem though is that would be changing the attitude and mindset of our entire society. That is the challenge and I hope not a futile one.

Have all new drivers take a battery of personality profile tests. There are some that simply should not be driving because of ingrained attitudes towards others. They see driving as an extension of their egos and that any behaviour on their part is justified-----ie "if it feels good ---DO IT! "  --let others get out of your way. Really,the best vehicle for them would be one that drives itself--a technology that is fast approaching!

Very well said. If anyone can come up with the solution to driver's attitude problem, they would make millions. Rules are not being taught or enforced; attitudes are about 'me' and 'my rights'. What happened to courtesy and 'share the road'? A little courtesy can go a long way. Be courteous to another driver, maybe you'll get a big smile or pleasant wave at the next red light.

Adult (parental) actions are a huge factor in what teens learn about driving.

Two of my students came to me when the parent said that her and her husband's driving practices were so bad, that " there was no way they could hope to teach their kids to drive safely enough to pass the Test."

Unfortunately they HAD (inadvertently) been teaching their kids how to drive for years.

Say hi to your friend the Devil-ha!

1/. Might this not be a good reason to raise the driving age limit to 19?

2/ Might not this be a fine time to have driving simulators for all young driver hopefuls

with a permanent record of their driving performance on the simulator -which must be above above a certain level before they are even allowed to drive in real life?  with flash drives that data is easily carried forward. It also could show a few personality  defects perhaps which may make them a poor risk at any time. I probably will live long enough on this to go skating with you and your friend

3/. RE driving habits rubbing off--I was at an intersection the other day attempting to make a right hand turn--was afraid to,  the oncomming left hand turn vehicles were all making illegal lefts into the right hand lane--what kind of an example is that setting for young drivers

4/. Speaking of courteous driving--what is the courteous reaction to someone who in moderately heavy traffic tailgates-a car length or so at 100kmph and thus puts me and anyone else on the road at risk if anything should go wrong ahead? I don't think it is just young drivers at fault for this, but their reactions may not be quite as forgiving as someone with more experience. (Could it be construed as uttering threats?)

Just a couple things to mull on.

I give almost full marks to the coroner.  The BC coroner could have made the same recommendation as the Ontario's cheif coroner, who called for a reduction in speed limits, and then the  health officer in that province did the same.  As politicians are wont to do, they ignored the recommendations.  Apparently there, as here, votes count for more than lives.  Photo radar was an NDP initiative and it proved successful.  But even the NDP won't touch photo radar with a barge pole now.  Shame on them, and the Liberals.

According to the numbers I have received from my municipality, in my area only about 3% of vehicles travel at, or below the speed limit.  Fully 80% travel at up to 60 km/h, and 15% are travelling at 65+ km/h.  This is on a street with a recommended speed of 30 km/h.

Speed kills, but if drivers were hit in the pocket book, or even pretty sure they wouyld be hit, they will slow down.  That is the lost history lesson from the photo radar days.

While reading the column , an idea popped into my head.  Telematics!  You know, the little unit that insurance companies give to you to plug into the diagnostic terminal in your car and reports on your driving.  Things like braking, acceleration etc.  Many of these companies allow you to log on to a website that shows the monitoring done by these “black boxes”......would that be of benefit for parents to monitor their “N” drivers?  Perhaps it would be an expense that neither the province,parents or new drivers want...but would sure be nice to have “big brother” watching some of these kids that think driving is for fun....freedom.....instead of a very serious method of getting from one place to another.  I’m quite sure it would change the driving habits of many........

I hope that ICBC makes it law to have that in every N driver's vehicle for the first 3 years. I would even support it in everyones vehicle, as long as there was not some sort block of the GPS tracker where it wouldn't record the location, only the speed limit of that road; GPS tracking would be terribly invasive and I am sure with modern technology that privacy and safety can be balanced.

There are entire households in my neighbourhood that think it is acceptable to drive like stunt driver's in a residential neighbourhood where the streets are 18' wide, where there are no sidewalks, and only a block from a very busy elementary school. I have video recording of multiple family members in that house as they attempt to "drift" around the corner of an intersection without our neighbourhood and unfortunatly the RCMP won't even look at it because the household told he RCMP I was a "nuisance". I am a nuisance because I don't want to see a child or pet get killed by nutty drivers so I park legally on the roadway in an attempt to slow their driving, and once I put a speed bump out but someone from that household grabbed my speedbump and threw it back onto my property then did a burnout where it sat. I admit I knew it was illegal to place the speedbump on the property, but I do not think it was wrong.

Growing up in small town Alberta, I have never seen the kind of driving that I witness in Kelowna. From extremely reckless speeding to a mother with a carload of teens cutting off a fire truck, with lights and sirens activated, so bad that he had to take evasive manouvers to avoid a collision with her. I have reported countless bad drivers to the RCMP that I think I have become a "nuisance" to them too. I am tired of seeing no MVA enforcement and believe it is getting worse. When you have a lack of enforcement, and parents who's horrible driving behaviors rub off on their kids, then you get even worse behavior that goes un-punished, so they start driving even more carelessly and recklessly. It will eventually snowball into a disaster and I bet we start to see a record amount of deaths result from this new generation of careless drivers who think it is their right to drive the way they do.

Driving is a privilage

Bring back automated enforcement

Find a way to make telematics work

Enable bylaw officers, or train a new group of peace officers, to enforce only the motor vehicle act. (Kelowna RCMP will admit to being too tied up with general duty assignments that they haven't got the time for MVA enforcement, yet our province won't allow other types of officers to do it. My small hometown had 2 bylaw officers. Every morning they were in a different school zone, hiding around a corner with a laser gun. We learned quickly that speeding in a school zone is not tolerated. They other day I went to watch behaviors in the school zone near my house, during peak drop off time. It was so bad I couldn't watch anymore and went back home!)

Lower speed limits to 30km/hr in every residential neighbourhood, and enforce it.

RCMP, get sneaky! Get proper ghost vehicles. Start enforcing the rules of the road. Start taking licenses and impounding vehicles.

Take the phones and licenses of everyone texting and driving.

Without action we are going to see gradual increase in reckless behaviour and it will end up costing lives. Words from a childhood book that come to mind regarding the drivers out there., "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk". If we allow bad behavior to continue, it sure isn't going to fix itself. If it going to grow into an infected wound that will never hear. We have got to amputate and educate.

Be safe out there everyone. If you see careless, reckless driving: record it and call it in to the local RCMP non-emergency line. Give them a driver description, a car description, plate information and direction of travel. Don't take no for an answer. Become a nuiance.