Ontario roads have become a little bit safer in the past two years, according to a new study from Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. The fourth annual Ontario Safe Driving Study released today looks at collision claims from Allstate Canada customers across the province and found Ontario drivers had 3.3 per cent fewer collisions from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2012, than in the previous 24 month period. Sarnia was the most improved with a 24.69 per cent decrease in collision frequency, while Brockville took the top spot as the community with the lowest collision rate (3.06 per cent). This is the second time Brockville topped the Ontario Safe Driving Study.
Allstate Canada created the study to generate discussion about driving behaviour in Ontario and to help keep roads and communities safer for everyone by emphasizing the importance of safe driving habits. "We're pleased to see fewer collisions in the province. Whether this is because of an increased awareness of the dangers of hand-held devices starting to take effect, drivers reducing their speed, increased police activity or other influences we don't yet know, we hope to see this trend continue," says Saskia Matheson of Allstate Canada.
Not only was Brockville the community with the lowest collision rate, it also had the second largest improvement, a 21.01 per cent decrease, to its collision frequency between the two time periods. Chatham was the third most improved community with a 16.67 per cent decrease.
When analyzing the data for the Ontario Safe Driving Study, Allstate Canada noted a worrying trend about when collisions take place and the severity of injuries. "Ontarians may be surprised to learn that our claims data shows, and this is backed up by provincial road safety studies, that more fatal collisions happen when conditions are clear and roads are dry," says Matheson. "Speed is often the issue."
Though winter typically sees the most car crashes for drivers in the province, it is the summer months when collisions are most deadly. The Ontario Road Safety Annual Report released earlier this year (2009 data) shows that July had the highest incidence, 10.9 per cent, of fatal collisions. Surprisingly, 79.8 per cent of all fatal collisions in Ontario happen when driving conditions are clear, while 12.8 per cent of fatal collisions happen in rain and 3.7 per cent in snow.
Allstate Canada reminds drivers that collisions can happen at any time of the year, not just in bad weather conditions. "We encourage all drivers to be attentive, sensible and patient behind the wheel to help keep our roads safer for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists," adds Matheson. "Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on the job."
Highlights from the Ontario Safe Driving Study
- Northern Ontario continues to be the region with the lowest crash frequency (3.87 per cent for 2010–2012, 3.82 per cent for 2008–2010). The region with the highest rate was the GTA (including metro Toronto) with a collision rate of 5.63 per cent for 2010–2012.
- Except for Hamilton, Ontario's five most populous cities were all in the bottom quarter of the rankings with higher collision frequencies. In order of population size: Toronto (ranked 43, 6.12 per cent collision frequency), Ottawa (42, 6.10 per cent), Mississauga (38, 5.81 per cent), Brampton (46, 6.45 per cent) and Hamilton (28, 5.24 per cent).
- The newly released 2011 Census shows that Milton had the highest population growth rate, 56.5 per cent, for any municipality in Canada between the 2006 and 2011 census. However, according to Allstate Canada data, Milton's collision rate increased by only 7.51 per cent between 2008–2010 and 2010–2012.