Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
Home > Road Safety > ORSAR > 2005 > Foreword
Text size Enlarge Text Shrink Text
Search Search  |  



In 2005, the total number of fatalities and Ontario's fatality rate on Ontario's roads fell to record lows.

In 2005, Ontario's roads were among the safest in North America, based on a comparison of the fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers.

Ontario Road Safety Annual Report 2005

What is the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR)?

The Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR) is a comprehensive yearly review of road safety figures and statistics for the Province of Ontario. The information helps the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) track long-term and emerging road safety trends, particularly those involving:

  • Fatalities and injuries among drivers, passengers and pedestrians
  • Collision rates
  • Collisions involving drinking and driving, speeding, novice and senior drivers, large trucks, etc.

The report is compiled from information contained in motor vehicle collision reporting forms filled out by police officers across Ontario, along with information from the Office of the Chief Coroner, Transport Canada and other ministries and agencies within the Government of Ontario. Road safety statistics have been collected in Ontario since 1931.

The statistics provide the Ministry of Transportation with an overview of the safety of Ontario's roads for each year. Comparing Ontario's road safety figures with those from other jurisdictions with a similar population and traffic mix, particularly other North American jurisdictions, helps the ministry distinguish between short-term fluctuations, long-term trends, and new and emerging road safety concerns. Being able to identify road safety issues as they develop helps the ministry and its partners to respond more quickly and effectively, increasing the safety and efficiency of Ontario's roads.

Road safety is an issue that impacts all facets of life in Ontario. Its direct impacts are in the human and economic costs of road deaths and injuries. Indirect impacts are through collision-related road delays and closures that affect our quality of life, the productivity of Ontario's businesses and the health of our natural environment. That is why the Ministry of Transportation works to improve road safety and reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries on our roads with direct action through legislative initiatives such as the Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, as well as through increased funding to improve bridges, highways and for public transit services across Ontario to reduce congestion. As the results of ORSAR 2005 show, transportation planning, highway management, road safety programs, legislation, public education and enforcement all play an integral role in making Ontario's roads among the safest in the world.

Key Road Safety Findings for Ontario in 2005

Ontario measures road safety by comparing the number of motor vehicle collision-related fatalities for every 10,000 licensed drivers in the province with the number from previous years. This allows for a comparison of Ontario's results against those of other jurisdictions, as the number of traffic fatalities and number of licensed drivers in most North American and European jurisdictions are relatively easy to obtain. MTO has been reporting the road fatality rate per 10,000 drivers annually for 20 years.

While the fatality rate per 100 million kilometres driven is also a valid measure, the number of kilometres driven in a specific jurisdiction is much more difficult to obtain. Jurisdictions use different methods to estimate the number of kilometres driven (e.g., traffic volumes on major highways or various survey methods). As a result, making a comparison of a fatality rate based on 100 million kilometres driven is more unreliable than making comparisons using the number of licensed drivers.

In 2005, the fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers in Ontario was 0.87, down five per cent from 0.92 in 2004. Ontario's fatality rate per 100 million km also declined, from 0.66 in 2004 to 0.61 in 2005, a drop of more than six per cent. These figures represent the lowest rates ever recorded in Ontario.

In 2005, Ontario remained a road safety leader in North America based on its fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers. Ontario trails only the Northwest Territories (NWT) – a jurisdiction with a small population and large year-to-year fluctuations in its fatality rate, in North American fatality rate rankings. The population of NWT is less than 50,000, and the number of licensed drivers is about 276 times smaller than Ontario's. The number of traffic fatalities in NWT dropped from 3 in 2004 to 2 in 2005, for a fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers of 0.63.

Based on the fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers in 2005, the safety of Ontario's roads ranked well ahead of that of our neighbouring jurisdictions of New York State (9th), Quebec (13th), Michigan (17th), and Ohio (23rd).

In 2005, the number of fatalities on Ontario roads declined for a third year in a row, from 799 in 2004, to a new record low of 766 in 2005. The number of minor injuries from motor vehicle-related collisions also continued to fall, from 29,918 in 2004 to 29,518 in 2005, while the number of major injuries in collisions rose by 54, from 3,565 in 2004 to 3,619 in 2005. Meanwhile, the number of fatalities involving drinking and driving decreased from 192 in 2004 to 174 in 2005, a decrease of almost 10 per cent.

In spite of the small increase in the number of major injuries, the results of ORSAR 2005 are positive overall and demonstrate that Ontario's continued emphasis on improving road safety is paying dividends with fewer deaths and injuries on our roads. Safer roads mean reducing the pain and suffering caused every day by motor vehicle collisions that were preventable. Ontarians benefit directly through an improved quality of life and reduced associated financial costs of motor vehicle collisions, particularly in terms of the cost to our health care system and lost productivity due to traffic congestion and delays.

Road Safety in Ontario: By the Numbers
Category 2005 2004
Fatality Rate 0.87 0.92
Fatality per 100 million km 0.61 0.66
Number of Licensed Drivers 8,762,210 8,655,597
Number of Motor Vehicles 7,854,228 7,698,416
Number of Fatalities 766 799
Number of Major Injuries 3,619 3,565
Number of Minor Injuries 29,518 29,918
Number of Fatalities Involving Drinking and Driving 174 192


Number of Fatalities and Licensed Drivers: 1980–2005
Number of Fatalities and Licensed Drivers: 1980–2005


Number and Rate of Major and Minor Injuries: 1981–2005
Number and Rate of Major and Minor Injuries: 1981–2005