How does Ontario measure up in Canada when it comes to motor vehicle accident deaths?

By Roger Foisy on September 7th, 2010

The Ontario Government and Ontarians alike have been suggesting that fatal car accidents have been on the rise. Despite the ever-increasing number of vehicles on the roads, half as many Canadians were killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2004 as there had been 25 years earlier according to Statistics Canada study published.

The study “Motor vehicle accident deaths, 1979 to 2004,” published today in Health Reports showed that during the past quarter-century, 97,964 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents. The annual number of deaths fell 52% from 5,933 in 1979 to 2,875 in 2004.

Sharp declines were detected even after adjusting for the aging of the population, suggesting that factors other than demographics are behind the drop. Almost three-quarters (71%) of the people who died in these accidents were male.

The study examined motor vehicle accident deaths in Canada from 1979 through 2004, with a more in-depth look from 2000 through 2004. Data came from the Canadian vital statistics database, composed of information from death certificates. Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities were included if a motor vehicle was involved. Motor vehicles include those often found “off road” such as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, agricultural and construction vehicles.

From 2000 through 2004, 14,082 people died in a motor vehicle accident in Canada. Of these, 3,417, or nearly one-quarter (24%), were aged 15 to 24.

Nationally, the rate of death from motor vehicle accidents for all age groups combined was 9.0 deaths per 100,000 population. However, at ages 15 to 24, the rate was significantly above the national average at 16.0 deaths per 100,000 population. In contrast, the rate was much lower than the national average for children aged 14 or younger.

Regardless of age group, males consistently had higher death rates from a motor vehicle accident than did females.  Young men aged 15 to 24 were particularly at risk, with a rate of 22.8 deaths per 100,000, compared with 8.8 deaths per 100,000 among women of the same age.

As pedestrians, seniors were also vulnerable. From 2000 through 2004, 1,746 pedestrians died in accidents involving motor vehicles; over one-third of them (636) were 65 or older. The average annual death rate among seniors from this cause was over 3 per 100,000 of the population, significantly higher than the rate for any other age group.

Specifically from 2000 through 2004, deaths were generally more numerous in the summer, perhaps reflecting a peak period for holiday road travel.

During the five-year study period, an average of just under 8 Canadians died each day in motor vehicle accidents. Deaths peaked in August 2004, with an average of more than 10 fatalities each day.

Ontario was one of two provinces where rates of death from motor vehicle accidents (from 2000 to 2004) were significantly below the national average of 9.0 per 100,000 population.  The study does not provide us with any statistics from any Ontario cities such as: Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, where the majority of Ontario’s motor vehicles are situate.

Yukon had the highest death rate from motor vehicle accidents in the country at 16.4 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Saskatchewan at 14.4.

The article, “Motor vehicle accident deaths, 1979 to 2004,” can be reviewed in Health Reports, Vol. 19, no. 3.

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