Road Safety In Canada: Making Canada’s Roads the SAFEST IN THE WORLD

Transport Canada
Motor Vehicle Safety
TP 15144 E
Cat. T29-72/2-2010
ISBN 978-1-100-51215-0

If you are a road user, this booklet is for you. It will help you be a safer driver, rider and pedestrian.


It explains the greatest risks and lists best solutions.

Our vision:
Making Canada’s Roads the SAFEST IN THE WORLD

Cover of booklet: Road Safety in CanadaTable of Contents

Seat Belts

Road users





This booklet celebrates three major road safety events in 2011

1. The Canadian Year of Road Safety

Rethink Road Safety signDid you know that traffic collisions are a major cause of death for those aged 5 to 34? The injuries Canadians suffer in these crashes are also tragic and troubling.

The Canadian Year of Road Safety 2011 was planned by the Canadian Global Road Safety Committee to raise awareness about road safety and have Canadians rethink road safety.

You can learn about Canadian Year of Road Safety activities at

2. The launch of Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2015

Road Safety Strategy 2015 is Canada’s third national road safety program. The first two helped reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries resulting from road crashes in Canada — but there is much room for improvement.

The Road Safety Strategy 2015 slogan is Rethink Road Safety. Its vision is to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world.

You can find the strategy at

3. The launch of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety

Did you know that about 1.3 million people worldwide die in road crashes every year and up to 50 million more are injured?

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed a resolution in March 2010 to establish the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The goal is to reduce the anticipated level of road traffic deaths and injuries around the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading this effort because the UN sees road safety as a public health issue.

  • Crash victims require expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • The UN estimates that 1 in 10 of the world’s hospital beds is occupied by a crash victim.
  • Treating crash victims can delay scheduled surgeries and add to long waiting lists.

To learn more about the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, go to

Seat Belts

A woman, man and child wearnig their seat belt.Every day, motor vehicle crashes in Canada affect those involved, as well as their friends and families. Being safe on the road requires planning and care before and during the trip.

Surveys show 95 per cent of Canadians wear their seat belts, yet about one-third of drivers and passengers killed in collisions were not wearing their seat belts at the time.

Drivers and passengers

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Sit at least 25 cm (10 in) away from the air bag.
  • Adjust head rests so the top is even with the top of your ears.


  • Seat infants and children under 13 in the back seat.
  • Use approved infant/child seats that have not expired.
  • Infant/child seats that have been recalled must be promptly repaired.
  • Install infant/child seats properly.
  • Fasten your child in the restraint snugly.

To learn more, please go to

Seat belt safety

Adults: Wearing seat belts correctly can reduce the chances of death in a crash by 47 per cent and of serious injury by 52 per cent.

Children: Proper use of child restraints can reduce the chances of death in a crash by 71 per cent and of injury by 67 per cent.

Road Users

Impaired driving

In 2008:Some pills.

  • nearly 40 per cent of drivers killed had been drinking some amount of alcohol before the crash;
  • about 20 per cent of serious injury collisions involved a drinking driver; and
  • about a third of drivers killed had some drugs (including prescription and non-prescription) other than alcohol in their system.

Choose Safety

  • Never drive after drinking.
  • Refuse to travel with impaired drivers — encourage them to take a taxi.
  • Don’t let your friends or family drive after drinking.
  • Phone 911 and report a driver who seems impaired.
  • Never drive after taking drugs that may impair judgement.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a prescribed drug could impair your driving.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if an over-the-counter drug could impair your driving.

To learn more, visit

Driver fatigue

In a 2007 survey, nearly 60 per cent of Canadians admitted that they sometimes drive while tired. A full 15 per cent admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving in the past year.

Warning signs of fatigue include:

  • blinking or yawning often;
  • closing your eyes for a moment;
  • having trouble focusing your eyes;
  • slowing down without meaning to;
  • braking too late;
  • not being able to remember driving the last few kilometres; and
  • drifting over the centre line or onto the shoulder.

Choose Safety

  • Get a good night’s sleep before setting out on a long road trip.
  • Make rest stops every two hours or less.
  • Share the driving with others, if possible.
  • Take a nap for at least 20 minutes if you feel tired.

To learn more, visit

Driver distraction

In 2009, 16 per cent of road deaths and 20 per cent of road injuries involved driver distraction:

  • 16 per cent of deaths involved drivers under 20; and
  • 13 per cent of drivers were aged 20 to 29.

Choose Safety

  • Focus on driving and what is around you.
  • Don’t eat, drink, change CDs, or groom yourself while driving.
  • Don’t text while driving. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to have a collision.
  • Don’t use a cell phone or other device while driving — even if it is hands-free. Drivers using a cell phone are four times more likely to be involved in a serious crash.

To pledge to leave the phone alone while driving, please visit

Aggressive driving and speeding

Statistics tell us that 27 per cent of road deaths — and 19 per cent of serious injuries — involve speeding.

  • Don’t speed.
  • Reduce your speed at night and in bad weather.
  • Stay at least three car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you.
  • Never run amber/red lights.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way at intersections.
  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

Driver age

Young drivers

In 2008, nearly 13 per cent of licensed drivers were aged 16 to 24, yet they accounted for about 22 per cent of drivers killed on the road and 23 per cent of those seriously injured.

This is why all Canadian provinces and territories have introduced graduated driver licensing programs for all new drivers. These programs place restrictions on novice drivers such as:

  • having to drive with an experienced supervisor;
  • not allowing late night driving;
  • not allowing young passengers; and
  • not allowing expressway driving.

To learn more, see


Nearly 14 per cent of licensed drivers are over 65, but seniors represent 16 per cent of driver deaths. Why? Many seniors:

  • are more fragile and so are at greater risk of not surviving a crash;
  • have a greater risk of suffering from factors such as:
    • slower reaction times;
    • poor eyesight;
    • confusion;
    • health problems such as heart conditions, arthritis, etc.

To learn more, please visit


A pedestrian crosswalk light.Twelve per cent of the people who die in motor vehicle crashes are pedestrians. That’s why it is so important to be a careful pedestrian.

Too little visibility

  • Make eye contact with drivers if you are going to cross in front of them at an intersection.
  • Wear light or reflective clothing at night.
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic if there are no sidewalks.

Poor judgement

  • Never cross an intersection against a red light.
  • Teach your young children how to walk safely near traffic.
  • Avoid crossing when distracted.

To learn more about cycling and walking, please visit


A female biker.Cycling can be a healthy and fun way to get around, but it pays to be safe. About two per cent of people who die in road crashes are cyclists.

Too little protection

  • Always wear an approved helmet while riding.

Too little visibility

  • Wear light-coloured or reflective clothing.
  • Keep in mind that drivers may not see you.
  • If riding at night, make sure your bike has reflectors and a light.

Aggressive riding

  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.


A motorcyclist.Eight per cent of the people who die on Canadian roads are motorcyclists or their passengers. Riders need to recognize the risks and rethink road safety.

Too little protection

  • Always wear an approved helmet while riding.
  • Always wear clothing that will:
    • protect you from the weather; and
    • protect you in a fall (e.g. boots, gloves and suits designed to protect your shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and back).

Too little visibility

  • Wear light-coloured or reflective clothing.
  • Keep in mind other drivers may not see you.

Impaired riding

  • Don’t ride after drinking.
  • Don’t ride after using drugs.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a prescribed drug could impair your riding.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if an over-the-counter drug could impair your riding.
  • Don’t ride when you are tired.

Aggressive riding and speeding

  • Don’t speed.
  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Reduce your speed at night and in bad weather.
  • Never run amber/red lights.


Poorly equipped vehicles

  • Choose/drive a vehicle with:
    • a high safety rating;
    • front and side air bags;
    • brake assist; and
    • electronic stability control, to help prevent skids.
  • Put matching winter tires on all wheels of your vehicle in the winter.
  • Check your tire pressure every month.

To learn more about safety technology in vehicles, please visit or

Are you ready to Rethink Road Safety?

Rething Road Safety LogoVisit our Road Safety in Canada website and learn about:

  • road crash statistics;
  • safer vehicle technologies;
  • car seat safety; and
  • driver distraction.

Make 2011 your Year of Road Safety

  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Obey the rules of the road.
  • Focus on your driving and avoid distractions.
  • Don’t text and drive.

Alternative Formats Available

"Road Safety in Canada: Making Canada's Roads the SAFEST IN THE WORLD" is also available in PDF Format (792 KB).

To view PDF documents you must use Adobe® Acrobat Reader. Visit the Adobe site to download the latest, free version.

If you need an alternative format or for more information, please contact us by e-mail at or call toll free 1-800-333-0371 (Ottawa area (613) 998-8616).

Road Safety and Motor Vehicle
Regulation Directorate
Transport Canada
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5