Definitions & Glossary

Look here for road safety terms and definitions, a collection of common acronyms and a listing of local and international road safety organizations and research institutions.

Use the alphabetical list to see terms with that same first letter, or enter a specific term into the search window. To view the definition, mouse-hover over or click on the term. Information about each road safety organization and institution contains a link to their site.


  • ABS

    Anti-lock Braking System is an electronically-assisted system that enables a vehicle to maintain traction during a full (emergency) brake application by preventing individual brakes from locking up, and initiating wheel skid.

  • accident

    an unfortunate event that occurs completely by chance; the "way things happen" without any planning, apparent cause or deliberate event

  • acute

    severe, and of short duration; for example brief exposure to potentially lethal gases.

  • adolescent driver

    driver aged 19 years and less

  • aggressive driving

    driving in a manner that offends and/or endangers other persons or property; forceful, overly assertive driving behaviours such as tailgating, severe acceleration or deceleration, failure to signal, abrupt lane changes, speeding, failure to yield right of way, unnecessarily "running" an amber light, etc.

  • ANSI

    The American National Standards Institute oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector; the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system. Visit website

  • approved driver education course

    (from Motor Vehicle Act Regulations) means a driver education course that is approved by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia under section 25 (8.1) (a) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

  • assessment

    the total premium a firm pays for workers’ compensation insurance. The premium is calculated based on the firm’s base rate, assessable payroll, and experience rating discount or surcharge.

  • ATRI

    American Transportation Research Institute's primary mission is to conduct transportation research with an emphasis on the trucking industry's essential role in a safe, efficient and viable transportation system. Visit website

  • audit

    a systematic, independent and documented process of examining practices and procedures within an organization, to determine the extent to which they fulfill specified requirements (e.g. audit criteria)

  • BCAA

    British Columbia Automobile Association Visit website

  • BCTA

    The British Columbia Trucking Association is a province-wide, non-partisan, non-profit motor carrier association formed solely to advance the interests of British Columbia motor carriers. Visit website

  • benefit

    WorkSafeBC payment made to a worker, the worker’s beneficiaries, or the worker’s health care providers for an allowed claim.

  • best practice

    a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to desired, superior results; a standard of risk control above the minimum legal requirements; often used as a benchmark, best practices usually evolve as improvements are discovered.

  • blind spot

    the area around every vehicle that a driver cannot observe directly or by using their mirrors, while they are in the driving position.

  • bus

    (from Motor Vehicle Act) means a motor vehicle designed to carry more than 10 persons, including the driver.

  • CAA

    Canadian Automobile Association Visit website


    The Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals is a national organization with the mandate to improve the safety of all road users in Canada. CARSP is a diverse group of professionals involved in the research, management and delivery of road safety programs in Canada. Visit website


    The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators is a non-profit organization comprising representatives of provincial, territorial and federal governments of Canada that, through the collective consultative process makes decisions on administration and operational matters dealing with licensing, registration and control of motor vehicle transportation and highway safety. Visit website


    The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a vision: the elimination of work-related illnesses and injuries. They provide credible tools and resources to improve workplace health and safety programs. Visit website

  • CDL

    Commercial Driver’s License

  • certificate of insurance

    written document stating that insurance is in effect; includes general statement of policy's coverage.

  • CGL

    Commercial General Liability Policy.

  • check-in system

    a process by which the employer and the driver or their passenger communicate at pre-determined intervals to identify the current location of the travellers and to verify their continued well-being.

  • chronic

    continual or repeated exposure; or a significant, long-lasting illness.

  • claim

    a request for payment or benefit to compensate for an injury, illness, or disease a claimant believes is work-related.

  • claim with no benefits

    When a worker is involved in a multi-vehicle (2 or more) incident for which the worker was not at fault, and the driver of the at-fault vehicle was a non-worker, the worker can sue the other driver through their insurance provider (e.g. ICBC) and can elect to not claim benefits from WorkSafeBC. If the worker elects to claim WorkSafeBC benefits, and WorkSafeBC sues the other driver on behalf of the worker, claim costs are removed from the claim when the other insurer pays WorkSafeBC the award settlement. Because the benefits paid come from the another insurance provider, WorkSafeBC logs the claim as a claim with no benefits.

  • classification unit or CU

    a specific grouping used by WorkSafeBC to classify each BC employer based on the products and services produced, and the processes, materials or materials used. Each CU is made up of firms considered to be peers or competitors based on similarity of business activities. See also sector and subsector.

  • CMV

    Commercial Motor Vehicle

  • cognitive load

    the load related to the executive control of working memory; the total amount of mental activity imposed on working memory in any one instant. Complex activities, like driving, are based on interacting elements that must be processed simultaneously. A large cognitive load (e.g. as occurs when trying to multi-task while driving, or during challenging driving circumstances) can temporarily overload the driver's working memory, and limit their ability to process information and arrive at correct decisions and prompt actions.

  • collision avoidance system

    electronic systems increasingly common on new vehicles, and aimed at assisting drivers maintain vehicle control and prevent collisions; such systems include Electronic Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning Systems, Anti-Lock Brakes, etc.

  • commercial passenger vehicle

    (from Passenger Transportation Act) means a motor vehicle operated on a highway by or on behalf of a person who charges or collects compensation for the transportation of passengers in that motor vehicle.

  • commercial vehicle

    includes (a) a motor vehicle having permanently attached to it a truck or delivery body, (b) an ambulance, casket wagon, fire apparatus, hearse, motor bus, tow car, road building machine, taxi and a tractor, (c) a combination of vehicles, and (d) other vehicles as specified by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

  • competence

    having the capabilities, attitudes and discipline necessary operate a vehicle consistent with legal requirements and employers / industry standards.

  • compliance

    acting or behaving in a manner consistent with requirements; obeying or conforming to a law or regulation.

  • Cone Zone

    The Cone Zone campaign is a joint provincial initiative supported by organizations committed to improving the safety of roadside workers. Major campaign sponsors include WorkSafeBC, the Government of BC and Justice Institute of BC. Work Zone Safety Alliance members include a cross section of employers and associations. Visit website

  • consequence

    the result or associated outcome of an event, exposure or circumstances

  • continual improvement

    recurring or ongoing activities aimed at making steady improvements to a system, process or practice

  • contributing cause

    a "minor" or partial cause of an incident. A contributing cause is not self-sufficiently the primary causal agent; instead they are condition(s) or event(s) that facilitate an undesirable outcome, or influences its likelihood, frequency or severity; eliminating a contributing factor(s) won’t prevent an incident, but it can "improve" the outcome.

  • corrective action

    steps or action to correct a condition or practice, to eliminate the cause of a nonconformity and prevent recurrence

  • covering the brake

    when the driver takes their right foot off the accelerator, and holds it over the brake pedal; the right foot does not rest on the pedal or apply the brakes, but is in position to readily do so; this technique provides a smooth transition from acceleration to braking and is effective to reduce reaction time and braking distances.

  • CSC

    The Canada Safety Council is an independent, knowledge-based, charitable organization dedicated to the cause of safety. The CSC is a not-for-profit, non-government organization providing national leadership in safety through information, education and collaboration. Visit website

  • CSSE

    Canadian Society of Safety Engineers is the leading health, safety and environmental organization for professionals in Canada. They work with industry, governmental agencies, and other safety organizations to promote a greater awareness of health, safety, and environmental issues in workplaces and communities across the nation and around the world. Visit website

  • CTA

    Commercial Transport Act

  • CVSA

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. Visit website

  • CVSE

    Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement is a branch of the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure that promotes compliance of safety regulations within the commercial transport sector, with the goal of increasing road safety and protecting public health, the environment and transportation infrastructure. Visit website

  • dangerous goods

    (from Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act) means a product, substance or organism included by its nature or by the regulations in any of the classes listed in the schedule (e.g. flammable or combustible materials, explosives, poisonous or infectious substances, etc.

  • defensive driving

    applying practices that exceed basic driving skills, and behaviours that go beyond "the rules of the road", and includes a proactive attitude to anticipate hazards and make allowances (e.g. in terms of space, time, patience, preparation) that accommodate mistakes by others, adverse road and weather conditions, surprises, etc.

  • demerit reduction program

    in some jurisdictions, when a driver successfully completes a recognized driver training course or program, the licensing authority will reduce the number of demerits or penalty points they have on their licence

  • dependent contractor

    (from Canada Labour Code) means the owner, purchaser or lessee of a vehicle used for hauling livestock, liquids, goods, merchandise or other materials, who is a party to a contract under the terms of which they are required to provide the vehicle by means of which they perform the contract, and entitled to retain for any sum of money that remains after the cost of their performance of the contract is deducted from the amount they are paid, in accordance with the contract.

  • dependent contractor

    (from Canada Labour Code) means the owner, purchaser or lessee of a vehicle used for hauling livestock, liquids, goods, merchandise or other materials, who is a party to a contract under the terms of which they are required to provide the vehicle by means of which they perform the contract, and entitled to retain for any sum of money that remains after the cost of their performance of the contract is deducted from the amount they are paid, in accordance with the contract.

  • distracted driving

    operating a vehicle while engaged in or preoccupied by tasks, events, objects or persons that are not essential to driving; operating a vehicle while the driver's attention is diverted from driving tasks, reducing their focus and concentration on driving tasks.

  • driver assessment

    the process of periodically evaluating each driver's competencies (skills, behaviours) in the context of the work-related driving they undertake.

  • driver error

    unintentional driving conduct mistakes; incorrect driving practices including actions and inactions (necessary actions not completed) as well as mental (e.g. poor judgement, incorrect timing) and physical (failure to see hazard or check blind spot) mistakes.

  • driver fatigue

    two "types" of fatigue are important to driving. Physical fatigue is the result of physically demanding duties that exhaust ones muscles resulting in longer reaction times and inaccurate or incorrect responses. With respect to driving, mental fatigue is the more common and serious physiological state that impairs cognitive abilities and reduces driver alertness, focus, attentiveness and the capacity to make decisions essential to driving.

  • driver impairment

    a state or condition in which a driver's mental and/or physical ability to effectively operate a vehicle is reduced, or deficient. This may include visual impairment, cognitive impairment, etc., and may be the result of alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, fatigue, stress, inattention, skill deficiencies, incorrect attitudes or motivations, etc.

  • driver training credit

    to encourage driver education courses at schools and colleges, many insurers grant premium rebates to applicants for private passenger automobile insurance who have successfully completed an approved training program.

  • driver’s abstract

    available through ICBC, an individual's driving record indicating when the licence was first issued, and listing any driving tickets or other offences received in the last five years.

  • driving to road conditions

    integrating road and weather information (e.g. type, surface, lane width, alignment, visibility, precipitation, weather, hazards, etc.) with driver (e.g. alertness, skill, experience, attitude) and vehicle information (e.g. mechanical condition, tires) to adjust driving behaviours (speed, following distance, eye lead time, lane positioning, etc.) and enable the driver to safely complete driving tasks.

  • due diligence

    the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property. Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances. For employers, due diligence means they take all reasonable precautions, under the particular circumstances, to prevent incidents, injuries and property damage.

  • duty of care

    the obligation that a person has to exercise reasonable care with respect to the interests of others, including protecting them from harm.

  • E-Log or EOBR

    Used by many commercial fleets, electronic logs or electronic on board recorders typically include GPS functions that enable the devices to capture and track a variety of driver- or truck-specific information. For example, EOBR's track duty status (driving, on-duty not driving, sleeper berth, off duty) plus the time and location of duty status changes. Linked with other on-board electronics, these systems can track vehicle speed, fuel consumption, sudden brake applications and hard acceleration, etc.

  • electronic device

    (from Motor Vehicle Act Regulation 214.1) - a hand-held cellular telephone or another hand-held electronic device that includes a telephone function, a hand-held electronic device that is capable of transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages, or a prescribed class or type of electronic device.

  • employee-owned vehicle

    a vehicle for which an employee has "ownership" accountabilities and uses for work purposes, including vehicles that are owned, leased, rented or borrowed by the employee.

  • employer size

    for WorkSafeBC purposes, a large employer incurs more than 100 person years of employment annually, a medium-sized employer incurs 20 to 99.99 person years of employment annually, and a small employer incurs 0.01 to 19.99 person years of employment annually.

  • ergonomics

    the study of relationships between workers and their environment, especially the equipment they use; the science of matching the job and equipment to the worker, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

  • ESC

    Electronic Stability Control is computerized technology that improves a vehicle’s dynamic stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding). When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies braking effort to individual wheels helping to "steer" the vehicle.

  • escape route

    your "back-up plan"; drivers should continuously monitor and evaluate their driving environment to identify potential hazards. What if that pedestrian steps off the curb? What if that oncoming vehicle swerves into my lane? Your escape route is the planned actions you will take and the route you will you to avoid or minimize an incident.

  • exposure

    for an injury or illness to occur, it is necessary for a person to be sufficiently close or come in contact with an environmental condition, object, event or energy that has the potential to incur harm; exposure is the particular risk factor experienced by the worker, with the specific modifying factors of intensity, time characteristics and duration.

  • extra-provincial truck undertaking

    (from Motor Vehicle Transport Act) means a work or undertaking, for the transport of goods by motor vehicle other than a bus that connects a province with any other or others of the provinces or extends beyond the limits of a province.

  • eye lead time

    the time (and distance) a driver visually scans ahead of their vehicle; how far ahead the driver includes in their active scanning cycle.

  • fatigue

    a decreased capacity to perform mental or physical work, or the subjective state in which one can no longer effectively perform a task. Fatigue reduces physiological performance and impairs cognitive abilities. Fatigue arises as a result of inadequate restorative sleep, but is also influenced by time of day and how long an individual has been awake.

  • fit for purpose

    good enough to do the job it was designed to do; a vehicle, equipment or process that has attributes (size, strength, design, quality, etc.) that are sufficient to meet the requirements of the intended purpose.

  • fleet

    a number of vehicles managed as a group, usually by a commercial enterprise and used for work-related purposes. For purposes of road safety, a fleet typically includes vehicles that a commercial enterprise owns, leases or provides by other means to employees for the purposes of conducting work.

  • fleet policy

    in automobile insurance, this is a policy insuring a number of cars for one owner.

  • fleet vehicle

    any vehicle that is owned, leased, rented or otherwise controlled by the employer and used for work purposes.


    The mission of the US-based Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Its activities contribute to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through enforcement of regulations; targeting high-risk carriers and drivers; improving safety information systems; strengthening standards; and increasing safety awareness. Visit website

  • following distance

    often expressed in terms of time, the distance your vehicle follows behind another vehicle; a following distance of 2 seconds is recommended for ideal driving conditions, and is doubled to 4 seconds for adverse road or weather conditions.

  • frequency

    a measure of how often something (e.g. injury, collision, incident) occurs; number of occurrences / rate of recurrence

  • Fully Reserved Claims Costs (FRCC)

    reflects the total raw past payments and the estimated future liabilities for the identified claims.

  • GDL

    Graduated Driver’s Licencing

  • general passenger vehicle

    a commercial passenger vehicle when it is not operated as an inter-city bus or as a passenger directed vehicle

  • GHS

    Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. GHS defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and provides health and safety information on labels and material safety data sheets (called Safety Data Sheets, or SDS's in GHS). Health Canada plans to have laws and regulations updating the WHMIS system to GHS standards in place no later than June 1, 2015. Visit website

  • glare

    excessive brightness, when a portion of the visual field has a significantly higher luminance than its surroundings, resulting in reduced contrast

  • GPS

    Global Positioning System devices mounted in vehicles utilize an array of orbiting satellites to track vehicle location; using electronic map information, GPS devices then aid in navigation and routing.

  • grey fleet

    vehicles not owned by the employer but used by employees for work purposes. A grey fleet can include vehicles that are owned or leased by employees and vehicles that employees rent, borrow or for which they otherwise have "ownership" accountabilities. To recognize each employee’s costs of operating a grey fleet vehicle, employers typically compensate the employee using a mileage basis ($/km), a monthly allowance or other method.

  • grey fleet vehicle

    a vehicle owned, leased or otherwise provided by the employee and used for work-related purposes

  • gross vehicle weight

    (from Commercial Transport Act) means the number of kilograms derived by adding the weights on all the axles of a commercial vehicle.

  • hazard

    any potential source of harm, injury or adverse health effect to a person, or damage to something; an object, process or condition that may expose a person to risk of harm or injury.

    Driving-related hazards include practices (e.g. speeding, following too close, not wearing seatbelt, overloading vehicle, insufficient driver training), conditions (fatigue, slippery roads), objects (loose wheel nut), substances (carbon monoxide, alcohol), materials (gravel surface) and energy (from your vehicle, or an oncoming vehicle).

  • hazard inventory

    a compilation of the hazards that employees encounter, or may encounter, in their workplace.

  • health and safety association

    or HSA, organizations, usually not-for-profit, and having a mandate of promoting, educating and otherwise supporting employers in industry sectors to improve workplace safety, and reduce work-related injuries and illnesses

  • health care-only claim

    a claim for which health care costs are paid, but no payment is provided for wage-loss, long-term disability, or survivor benefits. Formerly called medical aid-only claims.

  • HOS

    Canadian and American Hours of Service regulations specify, among other things, the maximum number of hours a commercial vehicle driver can drive over the course of a day, and over the course of a cycle. They describe other requirements that commercial vehicle operators must apply to manage their schedules and operations.

  • human factors

    the cognitive and behavioural aspects that effect driver performance; what the driver is thinking and feeling and how it impacts their driving; the science that focuses on how humans interact with their workplace environment, how workplace factors influence the decisions and actions of workers.

  • hydro-planing

    or aquaplaning, occurs when a sufficiently thick layer of water develops between vehicle tires and the road surface, causing a loss of traction, steering ability and vehicle control. Puddles of standing water, accumulations of water in ruts, car speed and under-inflated or worn-out tires contribute to hydro-planing.

  • IBC

    Insurance Bureau of Canada Visit website

  • ICBC

    Insurance Corporation of British Columbia Visit website

  • IIHS

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, non-profit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing losses - deaths, injuries and property damage - from crashes on US roads. For decades, IIHS has been a leader in finding out what works and does not work to prevent motor vehicle crashes, and to minimize injuries in the crashes occur. Visit website

  • Immediate cause

    unsafe or substandard acts, practices or conditions that lead directly to the incident. These include things like driving a vehicle with worn out tires or while knowingly impaired by stress or fatigue, lack of concentration, speeding, not knowing or failing to follow a safe work procedure, etc. Immediate causes are symptoms of the underlying causes of the incident.

  • impairment

    the condition of having reduced or diminished ability to perform a (work) function; circumstances in which a worker’s mental and/or physical ability to safely perform job-related tasks is negatively affected. Impairment causes include drugs (prescription, over-the-counter, or illicit), alcohol, fatigue and others.

  • incident

    an event (or series of events) that occurs; for each event, one can usually identify causal or contributory factors or conditions.

  • incidental driver

    a worker who undertakes driving in the course of their duties, but for whom driving is not their primary work assignment. For example, a manager driving across town to a meeting, a health care provider driving to a patient's home, a carpenter transporting tools and materials between work sites, etc.

  • industry standards

    the practices broadly acknowledged within an industry or employment sector as being the accepted "way of doing things"; steps or procedures those involved in an industry accept as sufficient level of performance.

  • inspection

    periodic examination of workplace conditions (e.g. vehicles and associated equipment) accompanied by a documented report

  • inter-provincial

    with reference to trucking, rail and pipelines, these enterprises have operations that cross one or more provincial boundary

  • ISO

    International Organization for Standardization is the world's largest developer of voluntary International Standards. International Standards give state of the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective. Visit website

  • JIBC

    Justice Institute of British Columbia is Canada’s leading public safety educator – a dynamic public post-secondary institution with the mission of innovative education and training for those who make communities safe. Managing partner of the Road Safety At Work program. Visit website

  • Job Safety Analysis

    or Job Hazard Analysis, a step-by-step method of identifying hazards associated with a particular task or function

  • journey management

    core road safety process aimed at minimizing exposure to driving-related hazards, and preventing crashes and injuries; journey management has two key components - using alternatives to avoid unnecessary driving, and for driving that is necessary, actively managing risks with effective trip planning, preparation, route and vehicle selection, check-ins and sound driving practices

  • JSA / JHA

    Job Safety Analysis / Job Hazard Analysis

  • lane position

    the placement of your vehicle in the lane. Your lane position provides information to other drivers. Generally, drivers should maintain a centered lane position. Before left turns, move to the left side of the lane. Before right turns, move to the right side of the lane, leaving enough room to pass parked vehicles, or people getting out of parked vehicles. Use lane positioning to adjust to potential problems and create more space between it and your vehicle.

  • LDWS

    electronic system that alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to depart from the lane.

  • left to right scanning

    regularly looking 180 degrees left and right of the roadway to observe objects, people, events or conditions and to capture all information relevant to driving decisions

  • liability

    a legally enforceable obligation; liability insurance pays for the damages or losses suffered by others for which the insured person is legally responsible.

  • licensed driver training instructor

    (from Motor Vehicle Act Regulations) means a driver training instructor as defined in section 27.01 who is licensed under Division 27.

  • load securement device

    (from Commercial Transport Regulations) means a tie down, binder, lock, chain, cable, belt, rope, winch, cinch, hook or covering.

  • lockout

    before conducting maintenance or inspections, steps taken to disengage or block out energy sources that have potential to incur a unintended movement / incident; with respect to motor vehicles, this would include disconnecting battery leads to neutralize electrical energy; installing tires chocks to eliminate mechanical energy, turning off the engine to remove kinetic energy, letting the engine cool to remove radiant energy, etc.

  • Long Term Disability (LTD) claim

    when a work-related injury results in a condition that causes physical or psychological functional impairment, it is the period of time following the date the condition becomes permanent. Health care, vocational rehabilitation and pension benefits paid during this time are referred to as LTD benefits.

  • loss prevention

    steps or actions taken to avoid or eliminate damage, injuries or illnesses

  • loss reduction

    activities undertaken to reduce the magnitude or severity of injuries and illnesses.

  • management system

    set of interrelated or interacting elements of an organization to establish policies and objectives and processes to achieve those objectives

  • MoTI

    BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans transportation networks, provides transportation services and infrastructure, develops and implements transportation policies, and administers many related acts and regulations. Visit website

  • motor vehicle

    for purposes of applying the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation in relation to motor vehicle incidents, motor vehicle should be understood as any motorized vehicle that moves on wheels, is operated for work purposes primarily on roads or highways, and is used for transportation of goods or people. In addition to the cars, trucks, vans, pick-ups and other vehicles one would commonly think of, motor vehicle includes motorcycles, mopeds and motor homes, but does not include bicycles, mobility scooters and all-terrain vehicles.

    In other Acts and Regulations, the definition of motor vehicle may differ from the one above. For example, in the Motor Vehicle Act, motor vehicle means a vehicle not run on rails, that is designed to be self-propelled or propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires.

  • motor vehicle incident (work-related)*

    an incident involving one or more motor vehicles which, at the time of the incident, were being operated for work purposes and at least one of the persons involved was a worker; includes events involving a motor vehicle (s) and pedestrians or cyclists.

    * The Road Safety At Work website focuses on work-related motor vehicle incidents. Most of the statistics are based on WorkSafeBC information which is explicitly work-related. However, there are also references and statistics that do not come from WorkSafeBC. For example, ICBC statistics on our website include incidents in which the vehicles involved were not being used for work purposes, as well as incidents in which the vehicles were being used for work.

  • movement time

    the time it takes a driver to complete the movements of a particular action, from its initiation (once they have decided what to do, the moment the driver initiates physical movement) to its termination (movement is completed, e.g. brakes are applied, steering wheel is turned).

  • moving violation

    any traffic offense committed while the vehicle is in motion

  • MSD

    Musculoskeletal Disorder - a range of injuries or illnesses involving muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels and other soft tissues of the fingers, upper arms, shoulders and neck, lower back or legs that is primarily caused or exacerbated by workplace risk factors such as sustained and repeated exertions or awkward postures and manipulations.

  • MSDS

    Material Safety Data Sheets provide printed information about substances (e.g., chemicals, solvents, gases) present or in use at the workplace; such information will describe the hazards, necessary personal protective equipment, emergency procedures, etc.

  • MSI

    Musculoskeletal Injury

  • musculoskeletal disorder

    an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue including a sprain, strain and inflammation, that may be caused or exacerbated by workplace risk factors such as sustained and repeated exertions or awkward postures and manipulations; often associated with fingers, upper arms, shoulders and neck, lower back or legs; often referred to as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinitis, Tenosynovitis and Bursitis.

  • MVA

    Motor Vehicle Act

  • MVAR

    Motor Vehicle Act Regulation

  • MVTA

    Motor Vehicle Transport Act

  • NAOSH Week

    Held each year in early May, the goal of North American Occupational Health and Safety Week is to focus employers, employees, partners and the public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community. Visit website

  • National Safety Code

    The National Safety Code (NSC) is a set of national standards supported by provincial regulations. The program establishes management and performance requirements for commercial carriers. The NSC standards establish minimum safety standards for commercial vehicles and drivers. Visit website

  • National Sleep Foundation

    The National Sleep Foundation is a charitable, educational, and scientific not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness and advocacy. One major area of concern is inadequate sleep by drivers, which causes fatigue and loss of alertness. Visit website

  • near miss

    a narrowly avoided mishap; an unplanned event that did not result in injury or damage but had the potential for either to occur had there been a slight shift or difference in time, position or condition.

  • negligence

    to fail to do what a reasonable and prudent person would do (or to do what such a person would not do); this can result in property damage, injury or death.

  • NETS

    Network of Employers for Traffic Safety is an employer-led public/private partnership dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job. Visit website

  • new worker

    any worker who is (a) new to the workplace, (b) returning to a workplace where the hazards in that workplace have changed during the worker's absence, (c) affected by a change in the hazards of a workplace, or (d) relocated to a new workplace if the hazards in that workplace are different from the hazards in the worker's previous workplace;


    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an US-based organization dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety. NHTSA investigates safety defects, conducts road safety research, helps communities reduce drunk driving, promotes the use of vehicle safety equipment and provides consumer information on motor vehicle safety topics. Visit website


    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the US federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit website

  • non – rateable sectors and subsectors

    Employers in sub-sectors 8108 through 8411 are "self-insured" and do not pay assessment premiums to WorkSafeBC. Instead, these employers pay their claims costs directly. Some employers who are in non-rateable subsectors include the Government of BC, Air Canada, and Canadian National Railway.

  • non-rateable

    Non-rateable employers are large employers who pay claim costs directly. They are typically government agencies and a few large employers such as CN Rail. Because they are not levied, they do not submit payroll and so we cannot calculate injury rates for this group.

  • NSC

    National Safety Code

  • occupational driver

    a worker that undertakes driving in their role, and for whom driving is their primary assignment and occupies much of their time during the work day

  • OHSR

    Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

  • orientation

    the initial briefing or training that employers provide to new hires and workers new to a role, demonstrating practices and machinery, explaining procedures, providing instructions and introducing them to co-workers, supervisors, etc.

  • ORS

    Occupational Road Safety

  • over-driving your headlights

    travelling at a speed such that the driver is not able to stop their vehicle within the distance illuminated by the headlights.

  • over-steering

    occurs when a car steers more sharply than the amount the driver would expect given how far they turned the steering wheel.

  • owner

    the company, organization or individual on whose behalf work is being done; often the owner of the premises or land on which work is being done.

  • path of least resistance

    the route by which the driver minimizes risks caused by their vehicle, and minimizes risks posed by other vehicles; selecting the path and executing manoeuvres that avoid the crash, or minimizes total consequences; includes giving cyclists and pedestrians extra room, avoiding interactions with aggressive drivers, selecting the lane with traffic that most closely matches your speed, etc.

  • pedestrian motor vehicle incident

    a motor vehicle incident involving a pedestrian; MVI claims with detailed accident type code as 43000 to 43999

  • peripheral vision

    that portion of vision that is outside ones central gaze; the ability to see objects not directly in front of the eye and on the side or edge of the field of vision. Peripheral vision is not as sharp as central vision, but is more sensitive to light and motion, helping to detect events and objects to the side.

  • personal protective equipment

    or PPE; equipment worn or used by workers to protect them from exposure to hazardous materials or conditions. Depending on their circumstances, drivers should carry a high visibility vest, gloves and eye protection (e.g. safety sunglasses), hearing protection and suitable clothing.

  • policy (or safety policy)

    a series of written statements explaining the principles and values that guide the decisions and actions of people in the organization. Policies state the organization’s commitments to health and safety, explain the roles and responsibilities of the employer, supervisors and workers and set the stage for operational procedures and practices.

  • preferred practices

    the activities and procedures organizations are applying because they have found them to be optimally effective in achieving desired outcomes, and are therefore the "recommended techniques". These should not be interpreted primarily as requirements, but rather as proven approaches that enhance safety and system reliability.

  • preventive maintenance

    equipment maintenance work (e.g. cleaning, adjustment, component repair or replacement) conducted on a regular basis and usually scheduled according to duration or mileage intervals, and sufficient to prevent unplanned failure

  • procedure

    see "safe work procedure"

  • qualified

    being knowledgeable of the work, the hazards involved and the means to control the hazards, by reason of education, training and experience

  • reaction time

    the elapsed time between the presentation of a sensory stimulus and the subsequent behavioural response; the time from the moment a driver observes a stimulus (e.g. sees a pedestrian or a changing traffic light) until the moment they have decided on their response (but have not yet initiated that response).

  • response time

    reaction time plus movement time

  • right of way

    according to legal and practical driving conventions, at intersections, crosswalks, merge lanes, etc., one vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian is entitled proceed ahead of other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians; that entitlement is called having the right of way.

  • risk

    the possibility or potential for loss. In road safety, risk involves primarily the likelihood that any person will experience physical injury or psychological harm because of a motor vehicle crash. Financial costs of repairing or replacing damaged property or correcting negative environmental consequences, and impacts to business processes (e.g. lost time, lower productivity and damaged reputation) are other losses that may be associated with a crash.

    Three factors determine how much risk a given hazard can generate:

    • Frequency of Exposure – how often and for how long workers are exposed to the hazard.
    • Probability of Occurrence – the likelihood that a crash or other negative event will occur.
    • Severity of Consequences - the severity of resulting harm or injuries, the magnitude of associated losses or negative consequences.
  • risk assessment

    the systematic evaluation of workplace hazards; a process that considers frequency of exposure, probability of occurrence and severity of consequences to evaluate hazards, commonly resulting in a relative ranking of risks in order to establish their respective priority for action

  • risk management

    the process of introducing control measures with the intention of eliminating or bringing the level of risk associated with a hazard within acceptable limits

  • road safety plan

    one element in an organization's overall health and safety management system; pertaining primarily to operating or interacting with motor vehicles in the course of work.

  • root cause

    the underlying or fundamental actions, circumstances or conditions that initiate or enable a chain of events that result in a negative outcome (e.g. vehicle crash, injury, damage). Typically, identifying the root cause, and implementing interventions that eliminate the root cause will prevent recurrence of negative outcomes.

  • Root cause

    circumstances, conditions, decisions or actions that cause or enable events that result in negative outcomes (e.g. crash, injury, damage or other loss), they explain why immediate causes occur or were possible. These include inadequate work planning, unrealistic work demands, incomplete systems, incorrect procedures and many others.

  • RoSPA

    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is a UK-based registered charity committed to preventing incidents, all the while seeking to strike the right balance between prescription and individual choice. Visit website

  • RSAW

    Road Safety At Work is a partnership initiative funded by WorkSafeBC and managed by the Justice Institute of BC. Our vision is to "Reduce worker motor vehicle incidents and related deaths and injuries on BC roads". We will do that by working with employers and their employees that drive, engaging and assisting them to make changes that improve work place road safety performance. Visit website

  • RSC – Roll Stability Control

    an on-board electronic system that uses a gyroscopic sensor and an associated vehicle response system to limit vehicle roll by braking one or more wheels and reducing engine power to reduce the risk of a vehicle rollover in extreme cornering or evasive manoeuvres, especially for vehicles with a high centre of gravity that are more susceptible to rollover.

  • SAE International

    Society of Automotive Engineers is a global body of scientists, engineers, and practitioners that advances self-propelled vehicle and system knowledge in a neutral forum for the benefit of society. SAE connects students, engineers, practitioners and companies; attracts, manages, and distributes mobility-related information through education, standards and technical publications. Visit website

  • safe work procedure

    an established, correct method for performing a task or function; a series of steps or sequence of actions that, when followed, eliminate or minimize worker exposure to hazards and accomplish intended outcomes or results.

  • safety management system

    the comprehensive framework of policies, processes and procedures that an organization, and people within an organization, apply to manage safety elements in the workplace to ensure the safety of employees and others (e.g. customers, clients, the public).

  • sector

    in the hierarchical system WorkSafeBC uses to classify BC employers (sector, subsector, classification unit), a broad grouping of industries, such as the manufacturing sector or trade sector.

  • self-assessment

    an assessment conducted by an individual to determine their current status (e.g. level of fatigue, state of mind) and how well they are performing or, are likely to perform, their duties and meet health and safety responsibilities toward themselves and others

  • Serious Injury claim

    includes all short-term disability, long-term disability, and fatal claims with a first payment in the month of injury or in the three months following the month of injury that meet at least one of the following criteria: long duration (wage loss of 50 days or more), high health care costs (costs equivalent to 28 or more days of wage loss, fatality, or serious medical condition(one of 275 selected ICD-9 codes).

  • Shift Into Winter

    A joint provincial initiative supported by organizations committed to improving the safety of drivers during the winter months. Major campaign sponsors include WorkSafeBC, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Justice Institute of BC and BC Road Builders. Winter Driving Safety Alliance members include a cross section of employers and associations. Visit website

  • short-term disability

    a claim for an injured worker who has lost time from work. Also known as Wage-loss claim, Lost time claim, or Temporary total disability claim. For claims administration purposes, the period that begins when a worker sustains a work-related injury and ends when the worker has recovered from the injury, or a condition resulting from the injury is determined to be permanent.

  • Short-Term Disability (STD) claim

    a claim for an injured worker who has lost time from work. Also known as Wage-loss claim, Lost time claim, or Temporary total disability claim. For claims administration purposes, the period that begins when a worker sustains a work-related injury and ends when the worker has recovered from the injury, or a condition resulting from the injury is determined to be permanent.

  • Short-Term Disability benefits

    health care, rehabilitation, and wage loss benefits paid for an STD claim

  • Short-Term Disability duration

    is the average number of Short Term Disability days paid for each STD claim. It includes days lost on injuries but does not include days arising from rehabilitation payments. STD duration is a measure of the number of days an employee is away from work, which hints at the severity of the injuries and the associated challenges of recovering from the incident.

  • shoulder check

    while driving (e.g. when changing lanes, overtaking, turning), to briefly look backwards over each shoulder to observe events or objects in the blind spot or not readily visible in rear-view mirrors.

  • SLF claims

    injuries or fatalities for which short-term disability, long-term disability, or survivor benefits have been awarded.

  • slow moving vehicle

    (from Motor Vehicle Act Regulations) means a vehicle, combination of vehicles or other machinery or equipment that is designed for use, and normally travels, on a highway, at a speed of 40 km/h or less but does not include an antique motor vehicle or a collector motor vehicle.

  • SMS

    Safety Management System

  • speed for conditions

    see also "driving for conditions"; considering the driver, vehicle and driving environment conditions, the speed at which the driver can reliably complete driving tasks while providing a sufficient margin or error for unanticipated events or hazards.

  • subsector

    in the hierarchical system WorkSafeBC uses to classify BC employers (sector, subsector, classification unit), a specific grouping of industries, such as the manufacturing sector or trade sector. For example, in the trade sector, there is a retail subsector, and a wholesale subsector.

  • supervisor

    an individual whose job responsibilities includes overseeing and guiding the work of a group of workers, to ensure it is carried out correctly. A person who instructs, directs and controls workers in the performance of their duties.

  • TAC

    Technical Advisory Committee

  • tailgate meeting

    a 10 to 15-minute on-the-job meeting of the crew and supervisor, typically held before work starts; a discussion of workplace hazards held to confirm that people involved in the work know the specific measures that will be taken to mitigate those hazards; also called a toolbox talk or pre-job meeting, etc.

  • taxi

    (from Motor Vehicle Act) means a motor vehicle designed to carry not more than 10 persons (including its driver) that is operated for hire.

  • time-loss claim

    claims with costs related to at least one of the following benefits types: short-term disability benefits (STD), long-term disability benefits (LTD), or survivor (Fatal) benefits and where the first STD/LTD/Fatal payment date is within the year of injury or the three months following the year of injury.

  • Transport Canada

    Develops and enforces safety regulations and standards; tests and promotes safety technologies; and is introducing safety management systems as a reliable and cost-effective way to prevent and manage safety risks in all modes of transportation. Visit website

  • Transportation Association of Canada

    A national association with a mission to promote the provision of safe, secure, efficient, effective and environmentally and financially sustainable transportation services in support of Canada's social and economic goals. Visit website

  • Transportation Research Board (TRB)

    Based in the US, the mission of the TRB is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. TRB is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council - a private, non-profit institution. Visit website

  • traumatic fatality

    death resulting from a single work-related incident, and exclude occupational disease fatalities.

  • trip plan

    a written or electronic record that communicates specific information about a trip; a trip plan includes the name of the driver and passengers (if any), information about the vehicle, travel route(s) and schedule, destination(s) and contact information, and is linked to a check-in system.

  • TripCheck

    an online journey management tool that integrates driver preparedness, trip planning and vehicle fitness components in a format that is easily shared with supervisors, managers and check-in contacts.

  • truck tractor

    (from Commercial Transport Act) is a motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles and not constructed to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle drawn and of the load of the other vehicle.


    The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute is committed to interdisciplinary research that will ultimately increase driving safety and further transportation systems knowledge. UMTRI provides industry research and analysis, information resources, and communication forums that meet the evolving needs of automotive and related industries worldwide. Visit website

  • under-steering

    occurs when a car steers less sharply than (under) the amount the driver would expect given the extent to which they have turned the steering wheel.

  • Underlying cause

    circumstances, conditions, decisions or actions that cause or enable events that result in negative outcomes (e.g. crash, injury, damage or other loss), they explain why immediate causes occur or were possible. These include inadequate work planning, unrealistic work demands, incomplete systems, incorrect procedures and many others.

  • variance

    an exception granted by WorkSafeBC when it is not possible for an employer to comply with a particular regulatory requirement. A variance — an order varying the requirement — may be issued if the applicant can provide alternative means to ensure workers’ health and safety.

  • VTTI

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research in eight distinct focus areas to accomplish its goal of saving lives, saving time, saving money and protecting the environment. VTTI research is designed to be multidisciplinary, with researchers encouraged to collaborate internally, with peers from Virginia Tech and with local, national and global organizations. Visit website

  • WCA

    Workers Compensation Act


    The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada's national hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are cautionary labelling of containers of WHMIS "controlled products", the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDS?s) and worker education and training programs (see also GHS). Visit website

  • Work Days Lost

    the total number of short-term disability work days paid in the year regardless of the year of injury.

  • work purposes

    using a vehicle for any function or activity that is part of carrying out work, including delivering produce, parcels or people, driving between job sites, to the store for supplies, from one's office to a client's location, between towns to conduct sales, and a variety of other uses. It typically does not include commuting between one’s home and their primary work location.

  • work-related driving

    any driving an employee undertakes in the course of carrying out their work. It may include driving between worksites, from one’s office to a meeting across town, from a muster point to a remote worksite, between cities to meet with customers, etc. It typically does not include commuting between one’s home and their primary work location.

  • work-related motor vehicle incident

    an incident involving one or more motor vehicles which, at the time of the incident, were being operated for work purposes and at least one of the persons involved was a worker; includes events involving a motor vehicle (s) and pedestrians or cyclists.

    * The Road Safety At Work website focuses on work-related motor vehicle incidents. Most of the statistics are based on WorkSafeBC information which is explicitly work-related. However, there are also references and statistics that do not come from WorkSafeBC. For example, ICBC statistics on our website include incidents in which the vehicles involved were not being used for work purposes, as well as incidents in which the vehicles were being used for work.

  • working alone or in isolation

    to work in circumstances where assistance would not be readily available to the worker (a) in case of an emergency, or (b) in case the worker is injured or in ill health. Although it is reasonable to anticipate that assistance would be readily available to drivers in most circumstances, assistance may not be readily available to drivers in remote locations, operating late at night or in undesirable locales.

  • workplace

    (from WCA) means any place where a worker is or is likely to be engaged in any work and includes any vessel, vehicle or mobile equipment used by a worker in work.

  • WorkSafeBC (or WSBC)

    WorkSafeBC is dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety for the workers and employers of this province. They consult with and educate employers and workers and enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. In the event of work-related injuries or diseases, WorkSafeBC works with affected parties to provide return-to-work rehabilitation, compensation, health care benefits and a range of other services. Visit website

  • young worker

    a worker between the ages of 15 and 24.

Tool Kits