BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

What's All This Then? Interpreting Police Accident Reports

ICBC tells you you are at fault and you disagree. What do you do? You gather as much information as possible in support of your claim.

One of the main sources of information to examine is the BC Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Police Investigation Report (the “Report”). Assuming the police attended the accident scene a copy of this report should have been provided to all motorists involved.

These reports often contain valuable information such as the names of all involved, the exact location of the accident, the names of witnesses and if any charges were laid. If charges were laid, the section of the Motor Vehicle Act that was allegedly violated is often cited in the report. It is a good idea to look up the exact section cited to see what the police allege against the other motorist.

Other information contained the report is coded and most ICBC lawyers know how to intepret this. I thought I would highlight some of the more important codes to share this useful information with my readers.

On the right hand side of the the Report are typed numbers. Assuming you were involved in a two vehicle collision fields 31-33A relate to the first motorist mentioned in the report and fields 34-36A relate to the second motorist mentioned in the report.

The police then fill in these fields with codes for all the “contributing factors” to the collision. Here is what some of these codes mean:


16 = extreme fatigue

19 = fell asleep

22 = illness

23 = Sudden Loss of Consciousness

26 = Pre-existing physical disability

80 = Ability impaired by Alcohol

81 = Alcohol suspected

82 = Ability impaired by drugs

83 = Drugs Suspected

84 = Ability impaired by medication

85 = Driver inatentive

86 = Driver internal / external distraction

87 = Deceased prior to colliison


11 = Backing unsafley

12 = Cutting in

17 = Failing to Signal

18 = Failing to yield the right of way

20 = Following too closely

21 = Improper Passing

24 = Driving on wrong side of road

25 = Pedestrian error / confusion

29 = Ignoring traffic control device

30 = Improper turning

32 = Ignoring officer / flagman / guard

33 = Avoiding vehicle / pedestrian / cycle

34 = Use of Communication / video equipment

35 = Exceeding speed limit

36 = Excessive speed over 40 KH Hour

37 = Driving too fast for conditions

38 = failure to secure stopped vehicle

39 = Driver error / confusion

In additon to the above, the police can code in various factors for “Environmental Conditions” or “other” conditions that contributed the the accident.

I should note that police officers who fill out these reports rarely witnessed the collision themselves and often their allegations of what happened are inadmissible hearsay evidence. It is important to track down all witnesses who can verify these allegations so that there is a source to provide admissible evidence should your ICBC claim ever go to trial.

These reports are a valuable source of information when advancing ICBC claims and it is important for you or your ICBC lawyer to properly interpret these reports to properly advance an ICBC claim.

If you have any questions about your ICBC claim or some of the codes contained in a BC Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Police Investigation Report feel free to contact the author for help.

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