Are you thinking about buying an imported, right-hand-drive vehicle? If so, be sure you understand the risks. A study by ICBC shows that right-hand-drive vehicles are more than 40 per cent more likely to crash (PDF) than similar left-hand-drive vehicles.
Released in August 2007, the study examines whether right-hand-drive vehicles pose an increased crash risk, and whether or not they offer less occupant protection in a crash than built-for-Canada vehicles of a similar age.
No evidence of greater crash or claim severity could be found to suggest that right-hand-drive vehicles offer less protection. The study did not include any testing or review of design elements of right-hand-drive vehicle that relate to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Road safety is a priority for ICBC, which undertook the study following an increase in the number of right-hand-drive vehicles being imported into B.C. (about 200 per month) and across Canada.
Q&As about right-hand-drive vehicles
Q: Will insurance rates for right-hand-drive vehicles in B.C. change?
A: At the present time, there are no plans to adjust the insurance rates of right-hand-drive vehicles.
Q: Many right-hand-drive vehicles are smaller, with lower gas emissions. Are they better for the environment?
A: There is no evidence that the emissions of these vehicles are worse than similar left-hand-drive vehicles.
Q: I own a right-hand-drive vehicle that was imported under the 15-year "import rule." If the rule is changed from 15 to 25 years, how will my vehicle be affected?
A: If you registered and insured an imported vehicle for on-road use under the 15-year rule, it won't be affected. (The 15-year rule exempted imported vehicles 15 or more years old from Canadian vehicle safety requirements.) However, if you replace the vehicle with another rig.