Road safety

The primary objectives of our team are to promote road safety and conduct road safety research from the lens of public health and safe systems.

According to the W.H.O. 2015 report on road safety, motor vehicle crashes claim more than 1.2 million lives each year and many millions more injuries globally. While road traffic incidences have a huge impact on the health and economy of all populations, most road traffic injuries and deaths are preventable. Our programs of research focus on impaired driving, traffic policy, and road traffic injury prevention.

Programs of research

Evaluation of road traffic policies and road safety initiatives

  • Evaluation of traffic safety interventions in British Columbia (funded by CIHR, completed). This project evaluated the amended 2010 BC Motor Vehicle Act on alcohol impaired driving and speeding. We found a 52% reduction in alcohol related fatal crashes.
  • Evaluation of Speed Limit Changes in British Columbia (funded by CIHR). Preliminary results indicated that a large increase in injurious crashes on highways with increased speed limits.
  • Evaluation of the Effect of Cannabis Legalization on Road Safety (funded by CIHR). This project compare the prevalence of cannabis use among injured drivers before versus after cannabis legalization in Canada.

Impaired driving

  • Cannabis and Motor Vehicle Crashes: a Multicentre Culpability Study (funded by CIHR). This study uses a culpability analysis approach to investigate the risk of crashing associated with cannabis by studying the association of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels in injured drivers with the likelihood of having caused the crash.
  • Medication Use and Motor Vehicle Crashes (funded by CIHR). The primary objectives of this study are to describe the medications used by drivers in British Columbia, to identify medications that are associated with crashes, and to estimate the crash risk.
  • Demographics of Drug Impaired Driving in Canada (funded by various local provincial governments). This study investigates the prevalence of drugs detected among injured drivers in different provinces.
  • Systematic review on blood THC levels and impairments among chronic cannabis users.

Active transportation and health

  • Non Motor Vehicle Related Pedestrian and Cyclist Injuries – A Chart Review Study (unfunded). Most non motor vehicle related pedestrian and cyclist injuries are not captured in police report or health database. This project describes the occurrence of non-motor vehicle related pedestrian and cyclist injures through emergency department medical records review.
  • Systematic review on pedestrian and cyclist injury profiles

Road traffic injury

  • Predictors of Poor Health and Functional Recovery Following Road Trauma: A Emergency Department Inception Cohort Study (funded by CIHR). This project will study health related quality of life outcome in road traffic injury survivors and identify factors associated with a poor outcome if any. Costs of healthcare and productivity loss will be examined as well.  

Driving Fitness

  • Syncope and Subsequent Motor Vehicle Crashes (funded by CIHR PI: John Staples)
  • Reporting Unfit Drivers: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice of BC Physicians (unfunded). We surveyed BC physicians for their opinion on reporting medically unfit drivers. Currently we are creating an information sheet for physicians regarding reporting medically unfit drivers.
  • Driving Ability and Transportation Needs of Elderly Drivers – A Perspective From Emergency Department Elderly Patients. The aims of this study are to determine the proportion of elderly drivers deemed medically unfit to drive, and to examine their awareness of driving fitness and their attitudes towards alternative forms of transportation. 

Driving behaviour

  • Association between leisure activities and risky driving behaviour in young Canadians (Master thesis).

Program Lead:  Jeff Brubacher
Researcher: John Staples
Research Associates:  Herbert Chan, Ediriweera Desapriya
Statistician: Shannon Erdelyi
Coordinators: Kate Merchant, Leona Shum
Master Students: Vahid Mehrnoush, Dylan Stephanian
Science Co-op Students: Angela Peng, Candace Yip