Annual Report 2009
Ontario has the safest roads in North America.
In 2009, Ontario recorded the lowest number of road fatalities – 564 – since 1944. Ontario also recorded the lowest number of road injuries – 62,562 – since 1965.
With the lowest fatality rate ever recorded in the province – 0.62 per 10,000 licensed drivers in 2009 – Ontario ranks first among all jurisdictions in North America for road safety.
Long-term trends indicate substantial reductions in fatality and injury rates since 2000. Fatalities are down by over one third. Injuries are down by over one quarter.
Ontario Road Safety Annual Report 2009
What is the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR)?
Road safety is a priority for the Ontario government. As technology, vehicles, and people’s attitudes evolve over time, so do transportation needs and demands. With shifting economic and demographic factors, new road safety challenges can arise.
ORSAR allows the Ontario government to monitor its progress in improving road safety year-by-year. The report provides valuable data and guides the government as it determines where more effort is required.
ORSAR is used by the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario (MTO) for policy and program analysis and development, road safety research, public education and performance measurement. ORSAR data is also used by road safety and injury prevention organizations, transportation associations, research institutions, police services and other ministries and governments.
To help the government address and meet new challenges, ORSAR provides valuable insights about long-term and emerging trends in Ontario and across other jurisdictions in North America.
Sources of data that contribute to ORSAR include:
- MTO collision, vehicle and licensing databases
- Fatality data from the Office of the Chief Coroner
- Offence data from the Ministry of the Attorney General
- Hospital stay statistics from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
Ontario’s roads consistently rank among the safest in North America – often earning the number one ranking, as is the case for 2009. By continuing to work with our road safety partners and monitoring trends captured in ORSAR, Ontario can continue to develop new and innovative road safety strategies that will help save lives and keep Ontario’s roads among the safest in the world.
Key Road Safety Findings for Ontario in 2009
For more than 20 years, Ontario has measured road safety by calculating the number of collision-related fatalities for every 10,000 licensed drivers.
In Ontario, the fatality rate per 10,000 licensed drivers in 2009 was 0.62 – the lowest ever recorded. The actual number of fatalities was 564, a decrease of 67 from the previous year.
The fatality rate places Ontario first in all of North America as the jurisdiction with the lowest number of road fatalities. Ontario has now ranked first or second for 11 years in a row. If Ontario were compared to the 29 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the province would rank third in the world, behind Great Britain and Sweden.
|Number of Fatalities||631||564|
|Fatality Rate per 10,000 Licensed Drivers||0.70||0.62|
|Number of Serious Injuries||2,942||2,603|
|Number of Fatalities||849||564||(285)||(33.6)|
|Fatality Rate per 10,000 Licensed Drivers||1.05||0.62||(0.43)||(40.7)|
|Injury Rate per 10,000 Licensed Drivers||104.7||68.7||(35.94)||(34.3)|
Top Priority Issues
In recent years, the Ontario government has led the way by working with many road safety partners, including police, public health and safety organizations in the public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. With support from these partners, Ontario has developed and introduced numerous pieces of legislation aimed at making our roads safer each year.
Recent legislation and new measures include:
- street racing / stunt driving legislation
- blood Alcohol Content (BAC) “warn” range sanctions / reduced suspension with ignition interlock
- distracted driving legislation
- speed limiters for large trucks
- expanded vehicle impoundment program
- increased penalties for infractions.
ORSAR 2009 indicates that our legislation, combined with strong enforcement and education, is achieving positive results. A quick look at some key statistics underlines this continuing success.
Drinking and Driving
The number of drinking and driving fatalities decreased from 145 in 2008 to 129 in 2009 (down 11 per cent).
In 2009, Ontario’s drinking and driving fatality rate was 0.14 per 10,000 licensed drivers, down from 0.16 in 2008.
Speeding / Street Racing / Aggressive Driving
The number of people killed in Ontario in speed-related collisions dropped from 134 in 2008 to 113 in 2009 – a reduction of 16 per cent.
Street racers and drivers who put other road users at risk by driving aggressively now face roadside vehicle impoundment and license suspensions, and upon conviction face a fine of up to $10,000, a jail term of up to six months, and prolonged licence suspensions.
Senior Drivers’ Fatalities
Fatalities among senior drivers age 80 and over decreased from 34 in 2008 to 21 in 2009.
Large Truck Fatalities
Ontario now has some of the most stringent truck safety laws in North America.
There were 31 fewer lives lost in crashes with large trucks in 2009 compared to the year before. This translates into a drop of 24 per cent in fatalities compared to 2008.
2009 was the first full year in which Ontario’s speed limiter law was in effect. This law caps the speed of most large trucks at 105 kilometres per hour.
In 2009, 88 vehicle occupants were killed while not wearing a seat belt — down from 97 in 2008.
Vulnerable Road Users
The number of motorcycle rider fatalities decreased to 39 from 53 in 2008.
Ontario's Road Safety Vision for 2010
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators Road Safety Vision 2010 is a national effort that aims to make Canada's roads the safest in the world, and its road safety targets were officially endorsed by all ministers responsible for transportation and highway safety in 2000. The Vision provides Canada's road safety community with benchmarks to help develop new strategies and measure intervention efforts.
The national target set by Road Safety Vision 2010 was a 30 per cent decrease in the average number of road fatalities or serious injuries during the 2008-10 period compared to the baseline period of 1996-2001.
Our statistics show that Ontario is likely to achieve the targets set.
Looking Ahead: New Priorities
For 11 years in a row, Ontario has ranked first or second in North America as the jurisdiction with the lowest number of road fatalities per 10,000 licensed drivers. The province has also achieved a long-term trend of fewer road fatalities, despite annual increases in the number of licensed drivers.
Our ever-evolving North American and global environment brings about new priorities. Shifting populations, advanced technologies and urban and rural development require new approaches to improving road safety.
There are some areas that require increased attention. These include:
- drug-impaired driving
- sharing the road with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists
- senior drivers and driver fitness in light of an aging population
- all-terrain vehicle safety
To ensure the success of Ontario’s existing initiatives, and to meet the challenges of the future, resources will need to be devoted to:
- modernizing public educationsocial marketing to achieve public awareness of new measures
- working with the police community to continue effective enforcement
- outreach to the health sector on specific priorities including drugs and driver fitness
- program monitoring and evaluation to measure effectiveness and identify future opportunities
- development of new legislation or measures to address new priorities
Ontario is a world leader in road safety.
ORSAR 2009 shows that our efforts have been paying off. Working together with our road safety partners, we have made people safer and more aware of road safety issues that affect them on a daily basis.
As we review the findings of this year’s report, we will continue to work with our partners to save more lives and prevent more injuries as we preserve Ontario’s status as a world leader in road safety.
Key Road Safety Statistical Trends
Between 1980 and 2009, the number of licensed drivers increased by 82 per cent. In contrast, the number of fatalities decreased by 63 per cent over this period.
In 2009, 62,562 people were injured (including minor, major and minimal injuries) in motor vehicle crashes, 38,805 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 2009, the number of traffic fatalities and injuries among children aged 0-9 has dropped steadily, leading to an overall decline of 66 per cent.
Both the number and per licensed drivers rate of 16-19 year old driver casualties (deaths or injuries) have declined, with a 58 per cent decrease in the number killed/injured and a 70 per cent decline in the casualty rate since 1990. Over the time period 1990-2009, the number of licensed drivers aged 16-19 increased by 43 per cent, from 322,542 to 462,718.
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 43 per cent.
Ontario’s data shows that despite an increase of 59 per cent in the number of large trucks registered in Ontario, the number of large truck fatalities decreased from 197 in 1990 to 99 in 2009, down 50 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 63 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.
Vulnerable Road Users
Motorcycle registrations increased 5 per cent from 191,572 in 2008 to 200,810 in 2009. At the same time, motorcycle rider fatalities decreased from 53 in 2008 to 39 in 2009.
Over the long term, between 1990 and 2009, there has been a 68 per cent decline in the fatality rate per 10,000 motorcycle registrations.
Between 1990 and 2009, the number of bicycle rider fatalities fluctuated between a high of 36 in 1998 and a low of 9 in 2000. There were 13 bicycle rider fatalities in 2009.
Between 1990 and 2009, the number of pedestrian fatalities was highest in 1991 with 157, and reached its lowest level in decades in 2008 with 94. The number of pedestrian fatalities increased from 94 in 2008 to 114 in 2009, up 21 percent. However, the number of pedestrian serious injuries decreased from 471 in 2008 to 397 in 2009, down by 16 percent.