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Who is the typical victim in Ontario fatal road collisions?
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has released profile data associated with the more than 3,500 road deaths that have resulted from collisions on OPP-patrolled roads over the past ten years (2005-2014).
While the OPP regularly publishes data linked to the fatal collisions it investigates, for the very first time the OPP is shedding light on those who have died as well as those whose actions were factors in their deaths.
Young adult males the hardest hit
The ten-year data revealed that twice as many males (2,358) have died in collisions as females (1,146) from 2005 to 2014. The age/gender category that saw the highest rate of fatalities is males between 25-34 years of age, which accounted for 397 of the deaths. Of those, 310 of the males were drivers and 60 were passengers.
Drivers, passengers and pedestrians were all victims
In Ontario, between 2005 and 2014, the OPP investigated 3,091 fatal road collisions in which 3,504 people lost their lives. Drivers accounted for 2,425 (69.2 per cent) of the deceased, 809 (23.1 per cent) were passengers and 270 (7.7 per cent) were pedestrians. Last year (2014) saw the lowest rate of passenger fatalities (42) over the ten-year period.
“By personifying our collision data, the public can better grasp the magnitude of loss and the impact poor driving behaviour has had on thousands of lives in Ontario these past ten years. A fatal road crash happens in a split second, but its consequences are far reaching and last for months, years and for some surviving family members, the rest of their lives,” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander, Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
Blair explained that people need to think about the “big picture” when someone dies in a road crash. There is the social cost of pain, devastation, grief and other suffering on the part of the surviving families. All too often overlooked is the emotional trauma experienced by police officers and other emergency personnel who are the first to respond to the scene of a fatal road crash. There are also significant economic costs associated with these collisions such as medical, property damage, court and other administrative costs.
“When you add it all up, the economic and social costs associated with road crashes in Ontario are in the billions of dollars every year, with fatalities being the largest single contributor to social costs. It is absolutely tragic to see so many drivers either under-estimate or not care about the role they can play in dramatically reducing this impact on society,” added Blair.
People doing better job of keeping children safe
Some of the most encouraging data of all is the dramatic decrease the OPP is seeing in road deaths among children and teenagers. These numbers were at their peak the first few years of the 2005-2014 data, with 26 children (under 16 years old) and 42 teenagers (16 to 19 years old) having died in 2005. In contrast, there were four deaths in the “Under 16” age group and 16 deaths in the 16 to 19 year age group in 2014, which is a ten-year low in teenager road deaths.
Unsafe drivers are not the only ones who pay
Of the 2,425 drivers who have died on OPP-patrolled roads since 2005, 450 of them were reported as driving properly at the time of the collision. In contrast, 1,975 were reported as not driving properly at the time and it is these drivers whose action(s)/condition behind the wheel are recorded as one or more causal factors in road deaths.
Why transport truck drivers need to be among the safest drivers of all
A total of 696 people have died in collisions involving large commercial transport trucks with 604 of those killed being occupants of the other vehicle(s) involved. Among the 92 truck drivers who died, 70 of them were reported as not driving properly at the time of the collision.
The vulnerable motorcyclist
A total of 279 motorcyclists have died in collisions over the past ten years, with 190 of them reported as not driving properly at the time of the collision. Tragically, the other 74 motorcycle drivers did nothing wrong, nor did the 15 motorcycle passengers who also died in theses collisions.
Passengers play an important role in reducing the number of road deaths
Unlike the other “Big Four” high-risk behaviours the OPP targets through its Provincial Traffic Safety Program, lack of seat belt use is the only road fatality factor that speaks to the actions of passengers over and above those of the driver. (Passengers who are over 16 years old are responsible for buckling themselves up whereas the onus is on the driver to ensure that those under 16 years of age are properly restrained).
From 2005 to 2014, 856 people died in road crashes in which lack of seat belt use was a factor in their deaths. The data revealed that 611 of those who died were drivers and 245 were passengers. Males accounted for 646 of the deceased (210 were females).
Males between 25-34 years of age had the highest rate of seat belt-related fatalities with 131 deaths. The 20-24 year age group saw the highest rate of fatalities among females which accounted for 41 of the seat belt-related deaths.
(See detailed data below)
This is the second in a series of comprehensive statistics-based News Releases the OPP is disseminating in its effort to raise awareness of the driving behaviours that cause senseless, preventable collisions and that result in deaths and serious injuries on Ontario roads every year.
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police