Comparison of road safety in Québec and Ontario



After correcting for differences in population size and age distribution, Québec had 12% to 50% more road fatalities than Ontario between 2000 and 2010.

In the same period, Québec also had 35% to 80% more serious injuries on the roads than Ontario. These gaps are even greater among men and young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

The objective of this research was to identify the main factors explaining the disparity in motor vehicle fatality and serious injury rates in the two provinces.

Inspired by the systems perspective and using a mixed methodology, the objective of this research was to identify the main factors explaining the disparity in motor vehicle fatality and serious injury rates in the two provinces. Our findings suggest that Ontario's better road safety performance can be explained in part by two sets of factors.

First, Ontario has adopted more restrictive measures to tackle drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol limit for driving a motor vehicle in Ontario is 50mg/100ml, while in Québec it is still 80mg/100ml. Moreover, the legal age for buying and consuming alcohol in Ontario is 19 compared to 18 in Québec. The sale of alcohol is also more restricted in Ontario than in Québec, when it comes to points of sale and hours of service in bars and restaurants.

Second, Ontario's graduated licensing system is more restrictive than that in Québec. A new driver must always have an accompanying driver in the front passenger seat with at least four years of driving experience. New drivers may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m., or drive on highways or certain high-speed roads. Québec could improve its road safety record by adopting similar measures.

Main researcher

Robert Bourbeau, Université de Montréal

Summary

Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: February 2016