What are the odds of being in an auto accident in Alberta?
A: Many drivers don’t think about the dangers they face as they pull out of their driveway and head out on Alberta’s streets and highways. But the risk of collision is always there. That is why it is crucial to have proper insurance coverage. Statistics gathered by the provincial government show how common accidents are on our streets and highways and the injuries they cause.
According to a report from Alberta Transportation, there were 142,596 traffic collisions across the province in 2018 (the most recent year that statistics are available), a modest increase from 142,467 accidents in 2017. That means in Alberta, there are just under 400 accidents daily.
The months of June, August and October saw the highest number of “casualty collisions,” which the report defines as those that result in either a fatal or personal injury. The month of January had the greatest number of injury collisions, and Friday was the most collision-prone day of the week. The most collision-prone period was the afternoon rush hour. That is understandable as people are often tired after work and may not be paying as much attention as they should to the rules of the road.
Who is most likely to be in an accident?
The report states male drivers between the ages of 18 and 19 were more likely to be involved in casualty collisions. Those between 15 and 24 were most likely to be killed or injured in these accidents.
Following too closely, running off the road and making a left turn across the path of an oncoming vehicle were the most frequently identified actions that led to fatal and non-fatal collisions.
A little more than 13 percent of drivers involved in fatal collisions were found to be impaired by alcohol compared to just two percent in injury collisions. Interestingly, impairment is also an issue for pedestrians injured in auto accidents. The report found that 18.2 percent of pedestrians involved in fatal collisions were impaired compared to 6.6 percent of pedestrians in injury collisions.
Buckling up in rural areas
If you assume that big cities are more dangerous to travel to when it comes to highway fatalities, think again. The report states that “fatal collisions occurred most frequently in rural areas, whereas injury and property damage collisions occurred more frequently in urban areas.”
Regarding seat belts, you should know that those wearing these restraints had a much lower injury rate (6.7 percent) than those (18.1 percent) not buckled in.
Number of accidents that happen on holidays
Sadly, more people are injured or killed in auto accidents during the Christmas season than any other holiday. In 2018 in Alberta, ten people were killed and 251 injured in 1,905 collisions. The August long weekend was next on this grim list, with nine deaths and 160 injuries resulting from 1,037 collisions.
On the other hand, there were no fatal accidents in Alberta in 2018 on New Year’s Day, although 46 people were injured in 385 accidents.
The report’s authors note that people need to use caution when comparing collision reports that focus on holidays since holiday periods vary in length.
Are passengers at the same risk as drivers in an accident?
Passengers fare much better in casualty collisions in Alberta than drivers. The report found that 164 drivers were killed and 11,398 were injured in casualty collisions in 2018. That compares to 39 passengers who were killed and 3,410 who were injured. Pedestrians were worse off than passengers, as 40 were killed in auto accidents in the same period while 1,010 were injured.
What vehicles are in the most collisions?
Passenger cars, mini-vans/multi-purpose vehicles and pick-up trucks/vans were most frequently involved in casualty collisions. The report states that passenger cars were involved in 114 fatal collisions and 8,231 casualty collisions. Pick-up trucks and vans were closely followed at a rate of being involved in 108 fatal collisions and 5,021 casualty collisions.
Motorcycles – which offer the least amount of protection of any vehicle to drivers and passengers – were involved in 496 accidents leading to 17 deaths and 479 injuries. At the other end of the scale, when it comes to vehicle size, tractor-trailers were involved in 517 collisions that led to 45 deaths and 472 injuries.
The report also notes that “0.8 percent of vehicles involved in casualty collisions were identified as having a vehicle defect. The most common defect was defective brakes.”
With close to 400 collisions occurring every day in Alberta, there is a chance you may be involved in one of them. The injuries you suffer as a result may not be readily apparent, but they could limit your mobility and physical health in the future.