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 right hand drive, the replacement vehicle would be subject to the import rules in effect at the time of replacement.