Seasonal Injuries

The holidays are over, and winter is in full force as families are out and about. The days are cold, wet, and snowy.

#SafeRideHomeBC

ICBC has activated their winter impaired driving campaign. The Drinking Driving CounterAttack campaign marked their 40th anniversary in 2017.1

Statistics:

  • 23% of car crash fatalities are related to impaired driving.
  • On average, 65 people die every year in crashes involving impaired driving.
  • Drivers aged 19 to 35 represent the largest group (47%) of all impaired drivers in crashes on B.C. roads.
  • 39% of all impaired-related crashes take place between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.
  • Males account for 69% of all impaired drivers in crashes.
  • On average, 16 people are killed in impaired driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.

Stay Safe:

  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home—call a cab, take public transit, have a designated driver.
  • Take your turn as the designated driver to help others get home safely.

Additional Information: 

Winter Activities and Sports

Each year in British Columbia there is an average of 1,000 injuries requiring hospitalization that are related to winter recreational sport activities. Of these serious injuries, the top activities are skiing/snowboarding, ice skating, snowmobiling, and tobogganing. 

Statistics:

  • The total cost of injury from falls from skates, skis, boards, and blades was $79 million in 2010.2
  • In BC, there are more than 700 skiing and snowboarding injuries, among all ages, that require hospitalization annually.3
  • Helmets have been linked to a 35 percent reduction in head injuries for skiers and snowboarders,4 and reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by as much as 60 percent.5
  • 10-29 year olds are at the highest risk of ski or snowboard injuries.

Stay Safe: 

  • Skiing and Snowboarding:
    • Make sure you and your children are dressed warmly and in dry clothing, including a hat and protection for the extremities, hands and feet.
    • Ski and snowboard helmets should rest two fingers width above the eyebrow, and the helmet should be snug and comfortable, with only one finger width under the chinstrap.6
    • If wearing goggles, there should be little or no gap between the top of the goggles and the helmet.
    • Skiers should follow the buddy system. Never ski alone.
    • Research has found that 30% of people report they consume alcohol or drugs more than usual while visiting ski resorts, but believe that drug or alcohol consumption has significantly less impact on their ability to ski/snowboard safely than on their ability to drive.
  • Skating, Sledding, and Snowmobiling:7 
    • Clear blue ice is the strongest, and white opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Beware of quick thaws which can weaken the ice surface.
    • Ice on frozen ponds, rivers, lakes or canals should be at least 15 cm (6 inches) thick for walking or skating, and 20 cm (8 inches) for skating parties or games.
    • When sledding or tobogganing, make sure the hill is free of hazards, such as trees, rocks, fences, and avoid ice-covered areas. Ensure there is plenty of room to stop at the bottom of the hill.
    • The safest position to be in while tobogganing is kneeling. Sliding on your stomach, headfirst, offers the least protection from a head injury. Laying flat on the back increases the risk of injuring the spine or spinal cord.
    • When taking the snowmobile out for a ride, ensure you wear a helmet.
    • Children under 16 years old should not drive a snowmobile, and children under 6 years old should not ride as passengers on snowmobiles. “Kid-Sized” snowmobiles are not recommended.
    • Do not tow a person behind a snowmobile—this is a high-risk activity.
    • Remember that snowmobiles are heavy and powerful machines, and weigh up to 600 pounds and can reach speeds of over 100 km an hour.
  • Additional Information:

 

  1.  Crash and injury statistics from ICBC data based on five year average from 2012 to 2016. Fatal victim counts from police data based on five year average from 2012 to 2016. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.
  2.  BCIRPU (2015). Economic Burden of Injury in BC.
  3.  BCIRPU. Injury Data Online Tool (iDOT). 2001/02 to 2013/14.
  4.  Russell K, Christie J, Hagel BE. The effect of helmets on the risk of head and neck injuries among skiers and snowboarders: a meta-analysis. CMAJ 2010;182(4):333-40.
  5.  Cusimano & Kwok, 2010.
  6.  Parachute Canada. Ski and snowboard helmets.
  7. Parachute Canada. Winter Sports; Winter Safety.