Annual Report 2008
Ontario has the safest roads in North America.
2008 marked the lowest fatality rate ever recorded in the province – 0.70 per 10,000 licensed drivers.
Traffic fatalities and injuries in collisions involving speeding, drinking and driving and large trucks are all on the decline, as are fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists.
Ontario Road Safety Annual Report 2008
What is the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR)?
Road safety is important to all Ontarians. Transportation needs and demands are constantly evolving. Technology, vehicles, people and attitudes change over time. As demographics shift, new road safety challenges can arise.
ORSAR acts as a benchmark for the Province to gauge its progress in improving road safety year-by-year. The report provides valuable data and serves as a guide to determine where more effort is required.
To help the government address and meet new challenges, ORSAR provides valuable insights about long-term and emerging trends in Ontario.
ORSAR is an annual compilation of key road safety statistics, including:
- Fatalities and injuries involving road users
- Collision, injury and fatality rates
- Collision-related data concerning drinking and driving, speeding, pedestrians, cyclists, novice and senior drivers, large trucks, etc.
As an example, instances of inattentive driving as factors in fatal collisions have been trending upwards over the past decade. In 2008, the government addressed this trend by introducing distracted driving legislation that banned the use of handheld devices while driving.
In recent years, Ontario’s roads have ranked among the safest in North America – often earning the number one ranking. By continuing to work with our road safety partners and utilizing tools such as ORSAR, Ontario can continue to develop new and innovative road safety strategies that will save lives and maintain Ontario’s roads as among the safest in the world.
Key Road Safety Findings for Ontario in 2008
For more than 20 years, Ontario has measured road safety by calculating the number of collision-related fatalities for every 10,000 licensed drivers. This method is preferred by many other jurisdictions, in part, because data on the number of traffic fatalities and the number of licensed drivers in North America are relatively easy to obtain, making comparisons easy to obtain.
In Ontario, the fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers in 2008 was 0.70 – the lowest ever recorded in this province.
This places Ontario first in all of North America. Our province ranks well ahead of neighbouring jurisdictions such as New York (ranked 8th), Québec (9th), Michigan (20th) and Ohio (26th).
Ontario has now ranked first or second for 10 years in a row, and has made significant progress in saving lives and reducing the severity of injuries.
|Number of Fatalities||765||631|
|Fatality Rate per 10,000 Licensed Drivers||0.86||0.70|
|Number of Injuries||67,175||62,743|
|Injury Rate per 10,000 Licensed Drivers||75||69|
|Number of Fatalities||831||631||(200)||(24.1)|
Improving Road Safety for All Ontarians
Ontario’s successful road safety record is built on hard work from many partners, including the police, public health organizations, road safety partners from public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors.
The Province leads the way by developing and introducing new safety legislation, providing and promoting road safety public education, and enforcing laws and supporting our partners in the policing community – all making our roads safer each year.
In 2008, Ministry initiatives targeted distracted driving, young and new drivers, and driving schools.
Over the past ten years, the use of electronic devices has increased. At the same time, there has been a rising trend in distracted driving as a factor in fatal collisions.
In 2008, the province addressed this situation and reminded Ontarians that driving a vehicle requires their full attention. Working with our partners in law enforcement, public health, and road safety, we developed and introduced legislation to ban the use of handheld devices while driving.
The message to Ontario drivers was clear: “Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel.”
For many Ontarians, the new law meant a simple change in routine – putting down their electronic devices while driving and staying focussed on the road. These adjustments will make a huge difference for the safety of those travelling on our roads.
Young and New Drivers
Despite our accomplishments over the past ten years, people continue to be seriously injured or killed as a result of collisions on our roads.
The majority of these collisions are preventable. This is particularly true among young drivers. Statistics tell us that injuries due to motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for youth in Canada.
Because of this increased risk, young and new drivers continue to be an area where we focus our education efforts. We want to make sure that new drivers are developing the skills, behaviours and the tools they need to become safe, responsible drivers.
We continue to build upon the success of Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System. Our province was the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a comprehensive graduated licensing program.
Improved Driver Training
Prior to 2007, schools offering Beginner Driver Education (BDE) in Ontario were not regulated by the Ministry of Transportation.
2008 was the first full year during which Ontario Regulation 473/07 was implemented. This new regulation oversees the BDE industry and continues to ensure that a high-quality Ministry-approved BDE program is delivered throughout Ontario.
The Ministry ensures that BDE schools are complying with provincial standards and that all requirements are being met by conducting yearly audits of all schools in Ontario.
Ontario has brought in some of the highest testing standards in the world to evaluate our novice drivers. This will ensure that young and beginner drivers will benefit from quality education and thorough testing, which will produce better drivers and safer roads.
Looking Ahead: Building on Our Success
For 10 years in a row, Ontario has ranked first or second in North America in having the lowest number of road fatalities per 10,000 licensed drivers. The province has also made significant progress in reducing injury involving drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
The last few years in particular have been marked by the introduction of several new road safety measures:
- Street racing / stunt driving legislation
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) warn range sanctions and 0 BAC for all drivers aged 21 and under
- Distracted driving legislation
- Improvements to the Graduated Licensing System
- Improvements to beginner driver training
- Speed limiters for large trucks
- Vehicle impoundment program for suspended and impaired drivers
- Increased penalties for serious infractions
- One person, one seatbelt law
To ensure the success of these initiatives, resources will continue to be devoted to:
- Public education and awareness of new measures and existing rules
- Work with the policing community on effective enforcement
- Program monitoring and evaluation to measure effectiveness and identify future opportunities
Ontario will remain vigilant in looking for new and better ways to improve road safety. We will continue to benefit from the excellent relationships we have with all of our partners.
The 2008 ORSAR numbers show that Ontario is on the right track, and our efforts are making a difference. Lives are being saved. Ontario will continue to have the safest roads in North America.
Preliminary Statistics for 2009
Ontario’s road safety record showed continued improvement in 2008. The preliminary statistics for 2009 show another year of improvement.
Figures show that both the number of fatalities and the rate of fatalities per 10,000 licensed drivers continue to decline. Fewer people are suffering serious injuries on our roads.
Our collaborative efforts are paying off, but there is still much work to do.
Key Road Safety Statistical Trends
Between 1980 and 2008, the number of licensed drivers increased by 81 per cent. In contrast, the number of fatalities decreased by 58 per cent over this period.
In 2008, 62,743 people were injured (including minor, major and minimum injuries) in motor vehicle crashes, 38,624 fewer than in 1980. This puts the number of injuries on the province’s roadways at its lowest level since 1965.
Fatality and Injury Trends for Different Age Groups
Between 1990 and 2008, the number of traffic fatalities and injuries among children aged 0-9 has dropped steadily, leading to an overall decline of 63 per cent.
Both the number and per licensed drivers rate of 16–19 year old driver casualties (deaths or injuries) have declined, with a 56 per cent decrease in the number killed/injured and a 70 per cent decline in the casualty rate since 1990. Over the time period 1990-2008, the number of licensed drivers aged 16–19 increased by 48 per cent, from 322,542 to 478,950.
The number of drivers aged 65 and over killed and injured has increased since 1990. However, the population of drivers age 65 and over has been increasing more rapidly, therefore, the casualty rate per 10,000 licensed drivers has decreased by 40 per cent.
Ontario’s data shows that despite an increase of 62 per cent in the number of large trucks registered in Ontario, the number of large truck fatalities decreased from 197 in 1990 to 130 in 2008, down 34 per cent.
Drinking and Driving
Both the number of drinking and driving fatalities and the rate per 10,000 licensed drivers have declined dramatically from 1990, by 58 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.
Vulnerable Road Users
Motorcycle registrations increased 11 per cent from 173,314 in 2007 to 191,572 in 2008. At the same time, motorcycle rider fatalities increased from 52 in 2007 to 53 in 2008.
Over the long term, between 1990 and 2008, there has been a 55 per cent decline in the fatality rate per 10,000 motorcycle registrations.
Between 1990 and 2008, the number of bicycle rider fatalities fluctuated between a high of 36 in 1998 and a low of 9 in 2000. There were 12 bicycle rider fatalities in 2008.
Between 1990 and 2008, the number of pedestrian fatalities was highest in 1991 with 157, and reached its lowest level in decades in 2008 with 94.