Mostly 17- and 18-year-old male drivers died, says Death Review Panel report

THE BC Coroners Service has released the report and recommendations of a Death Review Panel into the deaths of young motor vehicle drivers in British Columbia.

The panel, composed of experts from across the spectrum of both child-serving and road safety agencies, made three recommendations, aimed at:

* Reviewing the Graduated Licensing Program for new drivers to see if its effectiveness can be enhanced.

* Increasing knowledge about fatal MVIs involving young drivers through enhanced data collection by the BC Coroners Service itself and by the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC).

* Reducing speed-related injuries and deaths.

Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe thanked the panel members for their commitment to the death review process and the prevention of child and youth deaths. She said: “The Honourable Ted Hughes in his 2006 report stressed the need for external, multi-disciplinary reviews of child deaths, and we believe these panels are addressing that goal admirably.”

The panel reviewed in aggregate the circumstances of 106 youth drivers who died in motor vehicle incidents between 2004 and 2013. Data reviewed showed that the young drivers who died were primarily male youth who were 17 and 18 years old. The panel’s review showed that speed, impairment, lack of seatbelt use and inexperience were common contributing factors.

Panel chair Michael Egilson noted that the introduction of the Graduated Licensing Program in 1998 has led to a significant reduction in the number of young drivers dying. However, motor vehicle incidents remain the leading cause of death for youth aged 15 to 18 years in B.C.

Egilson stresses the importance of involving youth themselves and also their parents and guardians in the development of solutions to reduce the death toll further.

The full text of the report can be found at: