British Columbia

Car crashes in B.C. have gone up 23% in just a few years: ICBC

The corporation said the number of collisions provincewide has risen from 260,000 in 2013 to 320,000 last year.

Drivers surveyed say bad habits are to blame

The number of collisions in B.C. has risen by 23 per cent since 2013, according to ICBC. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

ICBC says the number of car crashes in B.C. has spiked over the past three years, leading the corporation to launch new driving awareness programs to help drivers recognize their own bad habits

Numbers released Thursday show the number of collisions rose 23 per cent to 320,000 last year — an average of 875 crashes every day.

Insights West surveyed drivers in B.C. in partnership with ICBC, with the majority of respondents saying poor behaviour behind the wheel was responsible for most collisions.

Drivers also said they think roads in the province have become more dangerous in the past five years because drivers are more impatient, aggressive and distracted.

Almost all respondents said they were "good or excellent" drivers — however, three-quarters of those people couldn't answer road test questions correctly and admitted to ignoring rules of the road when they're in a hurry.

More than 30 per cent of respondents said it was OK to "bend the rules" here and there if the road was somewhat empty.

Additionally, 99 per cent of respondents said they drive when they're "in an emotional state" and 18 per cent admitted to being an aggressive driver.

The Insights West study was conducted online from Feb. 20 to 28 among 1,126 drivers over the age of 21. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

ICBC action

In response to the findings, ICBC has launched a new online driving campaign encouraging drivers to take an online refresher course to reaquaint themselves with the rules of the road.

Last month, a provincial review of the corporation found drivers could face insurance rate increases of around 30 per cent in the next two years, unless the government overhauls the program.

"ICBC has not incorporated any significant basic rate design changes since 2007, and as a result, a driver's individual basic premium no longer reflects the risk and cost imposed on the basic insurance system," read the report.