STUDY - TIRF COVID-19 Road Safety Monitor

TIRF LogoThe Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) has released a study on the Impact of the Pandemic on Road Safety & Mobility. The 17 page fact sheet examines the effects of the pandemic on the road safety attitudes, beliefs and practices of Canadians and the information that it contains was gathered from an on line survey consisting of a random representative sample.

Highlights from the report:

In the first 12 full months after the pandemic was declared (April 2020 to March 2021), Canadians drove 13.3% fewer kilometres than they did in the preceding 12 months (Automotive Insurers Association 2021). Increased risky driving behaviours such as speeding and impaired driving were also noted. In New Brunswick, the RCMP issued 10,818 speeding tickets in 2020, a 16.9% increase from 2019 (New Brunswick RCMP 2021). The Ontario Provincial Police saw a 40.1% increase in the percentage of stunt driving offences compared to 2019. Edmonton police noted a 200% increase in drivers speeding more than 50 km/h over the speed limit (Heidenreich, 2020), Saanich police saw a 700% increase in the number of cars impounded for excessive speeding (Chan, 2020), and Toronto Police reported a 35% increase in speeding tickets and an almost 200% increase in stunt driving (City of Toronto, 2020).

More recently, as lockdown restrictions have eased, impaired driving charges increased in 2021 compared to 2020 in some municipalities. These charges increased by 27.7% in Ottawa and 10.2% in Peel Region, (Pringle 2021; Peel Regional Police 2021). In some municipalities, dangerous driving behaviours decreased from 2019 to 2020 due to less traffic, but increased again in 2021. If one looks at the number of speeding tickets issued annually January to October in Saskatoon, there was a 46.0% decrease in 2020 compared to 2019. However, there was a 25.8% increase in the number of speeding tickets issued in 2021 compared to 2020 (Saskatoon Police 2021). In British Columbia, there was a 13.0% increase in the speeding tickets issued in the April 2020-March 2021 period compared to the April 2019-March 2020 period (ICBC 2021).

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