News release

Downward trend continues for transportation accidents in Canada

Gatineau, Quebec, 4 April 2012 – Today the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its preliminary transportation occurrence statistics, which serve as an annual summary of air, marine, pipeline and rail accidents and incidents in Canada. These statistics show accident rates in Canada are trending downwards. Overall in 2011, 7.9 transportation occurrences were reported to the TSB each day–down from 8.4 in 2010. Of the 2,882 total occurrences reported, 121 resulted in fatalities.

“Improving the safety of Canada's transportation system is the TSB's number one priority” says Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. “We are pleased with the progress made, but every year we investigate many new accidents, some with similar causes. We will continue to call upon industry and government to make the meaningful changes needed to ensure our pipelines, our railways, our waters and our skies will be safer for Canadians.”

In 2011, the encouraging trend in the rail sector continued, with fatalities reaching a five–year low of 71. Notable strides have also been made in the number of crossing accidents and non main track derailments. However, the number of trespasser–related occurrences remains high, accounting for 63% of all rail fatalities. Meanwhile, the pipeline industry reported 5 accidents, the lowest number since 2005. The number of incidents rose slightly to 165.

This past year also saw a significant decline in marine occurrences reported to the TSB, with accidents falling 23% from the 2006–2010 average of 420, and incidents decreasing to 221 from the five year average of 251. In 2011, Canadian-flagged fishing vessels were involved in 36% of shipping accidents in Canada, down from 42% in 2010. While the TSB is encouraged by the decrease in fishing vessel accidents, more needs to be done to ensure those working in the fishing industry can, and will, work safely.

In the aviation sector, 932 occurrences were reported to the TSB, representing an 18% decrease over the 2006–2010 average of 1,135 occurrences. Although the number of accidents involving privately owned aircraft has edged down slightly since 2010, these occurrences still account for 67% of all accidents reported. Overall, aircraft accident rates in Canada have continued to improve, with 5.7 accidents per 100,000 flying hours, down from the five–year rate of 6.2.

A transportation occurrence is any accident or incident associated with the operation of a ship, pipeline, railway rolling stock or aircraft. Accident and incident are defined in the TSB Regulations.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053