Motor vehicle deaths on decline in Canada

Queen Elizabeth Way, outside Oakville, Ont. Photo by: chapstickaddict on Flickr

I first heard the news from my Driver Safety Canada group on LinkedIn. Transport Canada announced the lowest death toll on Canadian roads in almost 60 years.

In 2008, 2,419 road users died in Canada, down from 2,761 in 2007. I thought about why these numbers are down (but still too high) and it seemed to me we owe credit to the people who’ve been advocating for road safety.

Who can we thank?

One important project is the Fraser Canyon Truck Safety Corridor: “BC and Canada’s first designated highway safety corridor” established in 2005. I did some writing for this project back then, and I always think of it now when I drive this highway east of Vancouver.

A highway safety corridor is “a stretch of highway that experiences a higher than average number of motor vehicle crashes, injuries or fatalities.” ICBC sponsored the installation of rumble strips on the road. The strips mark the edges of traffic lanes and they make a rumbling sound when your tires pass over them. I’m sure they’ve made a big difference and prevented lots of crashes, along with new signage, traffic routing, and road improvements.

Still too many dying

That lower total of fatalities for 2008 (2419 people) is still far too high. Reducing them further is an ongoing goal shared by these dedicated drivers of change in BC:

1. DriveBC – up-to-date road conditions listed, managed by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure – with a good Twitter feed of road safety updates.

2. Shift into Winter – a website of road safety tips from:

* BC Trucking Association
* BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation
* TranBC – BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
* BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association
* WorkSafeBC

3. Resource Road User Safety Guide – from the BC Forest Safety Council

4. – a community raising awareness of preventable injuries, including:

* BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation
* Insurance Bureau of Canada
* London Drugs Ltd.
* BC Ministry of Labour
* Pacific Blue Cross
* WorkSafeBC

This is not an exhaustive list – so please let me know who else to thank for efforts. I hope everyone who’s been working for road safety will see the Transport Canada stats, pat themselves on the back, and then keep working – along with the rest of us drivers.


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