Canadian Traffic Crashes Increasing, U.S. Fatal Collisions Up

TORONTO, ON and WASHINGTON, D.C. – Traffic collisions in Canada are increasing while fatal crashes in the United States during the first half of the year also moved higher following a 2014 decline, according to newly released and separate reports, signaling to trucking that roadways are as dangerous as ever in many ways.

The seventh-annual Allstate Insurance Company of Canada Safe Driving Study reveals motorist crashes are on the rise, with the frequency of collisions rising nationally from 5.19 percent last year to 5.57 percent this year. This increase represents a 7.3 percent rise in collisions.

The Safe Driving Study uses Allstate Canada data to track collision frequency among Allstate Canada customers in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario.

Using this data, Allstate was able to rank 81 cities across the country based on collision frequency, with Spruce Grove, AB being rated the safest with a collision frequency of 3.43 per cent. The community with the highest frequency in collisions was Halifax at 7.12 per cent.

“Our data is showing a trend toward rising collisions over the past two years,” says Ryan Michel, senior vice-president and chief risk officer for Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “While the study can only look at our data, we believe it’s important to share the trends we are seeing, in an effort to shine a light on road safety and encourage Canadians to think about what it means to be a safe driver.”

While the study showed an overall increase in the frequency of collisions, New Brunswick reported the lowest collision rates, followed by Alberta. The rise in collisions was the highest in Nova Scotia, which saw an increase in collisions from 4.63 percent to 5.77 percent.

The study can’t account for direct reasons as to why collisions rose, but it’s important to note that a variety of factors, including increased traffic and inclement weather conditions, can play a part in an increase in collisions, according to Allstate Canada.

This year’s study also revealed new information about where and how most drivers are getting into collisions. The three most common types of collisions according to Allstate data are: vehicles being rear-ended (25.17 percent); accidents while turning or passing through an intersection (23.54 percent); and accidents involving parked vehicles (13.57 per cent).

For more detailed results as well as Allstate Canada’s “Safest City” rankings by community and region click here.

Numbers Split in Quebec

A separate Allstate study on Quebec has revealed that collisions are on the rise on the South Shore of Montreal, with the frequency of collisions up from 6.79 percent last year to 7.58 percent this year. This increase represents a 12 percent rise in collisions.

It is a different story on the North shore of Montreal where the frequency of collisions dropped from 8.44 percent in the previous study to 8.04 percent this year. This represents a 5 percent decrease in collisions.

U.S. Traffic Deaths Rebounding After 2014 Decline

Meantime, a new report from the U.S. shows a slight decline in traffic deaths during 2014 but an increase in estimated fatalities during the first six months of this year, according to Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) figures for 2014 show 32,675 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, a 0.1 percent decrease from the previous year.

The fatality rate fell to a record-low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled. But estimates for the first six months of 2015 show a troubling increase in the number of fatalities.  

The 2015 fatality estimate is up 8.1 percent from the same period last year, and the fatality rate rose by 4.4 percent. NHTSA experts cautioned that while partial-year estimates are more volatile and subject to revision, the estimated increase represents a troubling departure from a general downward trend.

“These numbers are a call to action,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Everyone with a responsibility for road safety – the federal, State and local governments, law enforcement, vehicle manufacturers, safety advocates and road users – needs to reassess our efforts to combat threats to safety. USDOT will redouble our efforts on safety and we expect our partners to do the same.”

Data for 2014 from FARS show that while overall road deaths declined only slightly, it was the safest year on record for passenger vehicle occupants: 21,022 Americans died in vehicles in 2014, the lowest number since FARS began collecting data in 1975. While cyclist deaths also declined, the number of pedestrians killed rose by 3.1 percent from 2013.

Other trends remained stubbornly constant. Deaths in drunk driving crashes continue to represent roughly one-third of fatalities; approximately half of all vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts; deaths of motorcyclists without helmets remained far higher in states without strong helmet laws; and speeding was a factor in more than one in four deaths.

NHTSA research shows that in an estimated 94 percent of crashes, the critical cause is a human factor. In contrast, vehicle-related factors are the critical reason in about 2 percent of crashes.

While final 2015 numbers and a breakdown of factors in the year’s fatalities will not be available until next year, NHTSA experts noted that job growth and low fuel prices could be a factor, not only in increased driving overall, but in increased leisure driving and driving by young people, which can contribute to higher fatality rates.

More details on the first half of 2015 numbers are on NHTSA website along with the report on 2014 results.


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