Collisions on regional roads marks 10-year low

Teenagers and young adults aged under 25 years are most likely to be at fault in a motor vehicle collision and are also most likely to be fatally injured in a collision, according to the 2020 Traveller Safety Report.

The report, which collects data from a variety of sources and uses the information to better understand traveller behaviour and determine initiatives to increase safety for all road users, also found collisions occur most frequently on Fridays during the winter between 5 and 6 p.m., with rear-end collisions at signalized intersections the most common because of motorists following too closely.

“York Region roads carry more than six billion vehicle-kilometres of travel annually and more than two million trips are taken daily on our roads, sidewalks and bike lanes,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson reports.

The rates of motor vehicle collisions that occurred on Regional roads in 2018 and 2019 dropped 11 per cent compared to the average of the previous five years but the number of fatalities in the same time period was 11 per cent higher. The Region reported 12 fatalities in 2017 – a 10-year low – but the number of fatal collisions reached 19 in 2019.

More than half of all fatal collisions in 2018 and 2019 were related to speeding, while 89 per cent of collisions were the result of improper driving and 30 per cent of collisions are the result of following too closely. Driver inattention or distracted driving contributed to 80 per cent of collisions.

The number of cyclist collisions is increasing but the rate of collisions is decreasing because growth in trips is outpacing growth in collisions. According to the report, 92 per cent of pedestrians and 80 per cent of cyclists sustained injuries during collisions, most of which occurred when vehicles made turns at signalized intersections.

The number of motorcyclists has doubled over the past decade but the rate of motorcycle collisions in 2018 and 2019 was 33 per cent lower than the 2013-2017 average. Motorcyclists are usually not at fault in collisions but because they don’t have the same level of protection as other drivers, have a higher injury rate when involved in a collision.

Total collisions involving all public and private transit vehicles combined increased by about three per cent annually, while transit operations in the Region – including number of service hours and kilometres travelled – has increased over the past decade. “A pattern of motorists failing to provide buses ample space have led to a spike in the number of sideswipe collisions,” the report notes.

York Region is implementing new initiatives to enhance safety measures, including piloting automated speed enforcement in community safety zones, no right turns on a red traffic light, fully protected left turns, safety education campaigns and using a data-driven approach for engineering safer roads.

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