December worst month for collisions: data

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is the worst on Canadian roads when it comes to collisions.

Risk Management News


It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is the worst on Canadian roads when it comes to collisions.

The annual Allstate Insurance Company of Canada Safe Driving Study, reveals that the days leading up to the holidays, December 21-23, had the highest number of collision claims – and brokers should remind their clients now to slow it down and take it easy while driving.

“Allstate has conducted its Safe Driving Study, with the goal to generate discussions about what it means to be a safe driver and to help keep roads and communities safer for everyone,” says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer for Allstate Canada. “While the study can only look at our data, we believe it's important to share the trends we are seeing, in an effort to promote a national conversation about road safety.”

Those numbers drop dramatically on the actual holidays, December 25 (1,095) and January 1 (1,414), which had the lowest number of collision claims.

The study, which examines the frequency of customers' collision claims in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, shows that December 21 had the highest number of collision claims (3,150), followed by December 23 (3,108) and December 22 (3,082).

“With more drivers out on the roads rushing to parties, socializing, their minds racing with gift ideas and checklists of things to do over the holidays, they may not be paying as much attention to the road as they should be,” says Michel. “We all have a lot on the go during the holiday season but with winter weather becoming increasing unpredictable, it's important to recognize that road conditions may be more challenging, so we should all drive with caution, focus on the road ahead, and be patient.”

2014 Safe Driving Study Results
Looking at the frequency of collision claims by community, of the 50 included in the study Medicine Hat, Alta. had the lowest collision rate in the study (3.74 per cent), while Ottawa, Ont. had the highest (6.73 per cent). (continued.)

Spruce Grove, Alta., had the most significant reduction in collision claims frequency (-20 per cent), followed by Aurora, Ont. (-15 per cent), Medicine Hat, Alta. (-14 per cent) and Saint John, N.B. (-13 per cent).  The three communities with the greatest increase in collision claims frequency were Dartmouth, N.S. (29 per cent), Halifax, N.S. (27 per cent) and Brantford, Ont. (23 per cent).

A harsher than average winter in Nova Scotia last year is believed to be a factor in that province's increase in collision claims.

Provincially, Alberta had the highest collision claims frequency (5.66 per cent), followed by Ontario (5.37 per cent), Nova Scotia (5.25 per cent) and New Brunswick (5.00 per cent). Nova Scotia had the greatest increase in collision claims (19.6 per cent), followed by Ontario (3.30 per cent).

Regional Findings
•    The seven Alberta cities in the study, from lowest collision frequency to highest along with their overall ranking in the study, were Medicine Hat (3.74%) (#1), Spruce Grove (4.02%) (#3), Lethbridge (4.49%) (#6), St. Albert (5.01%) (#15), Sherwood Park (5.04%) (#17), Edmonton (6.16%) (#43) and Calgary (6.27%) (#45).

•    Four of the top ten communities in the study, that is communities with the lowest frequency of collisions, were from Ontario: Sarnia (4.00%) (#2), Peterborough (4.07%) (#4), St. Catharines (4.37%) (#5) and Kitchener (4.57%) (#7).
•    Seven of the bottom ten communities in the study, communities with the highest frequency of collision, were from Ontario: Markham (6.12%) (#41), Pickering (6.13%) (#42), Toronto (6.22%) (#44), Maple (6.42%) (#46), Richmond Hill (6.57%) (#47), Milton (6.61%) (#48) and Ottawa (6.73%) (#50).

•    Of the Nova Scotia communities studied, Dartmouth had the lowest collision claims frequency (4.99%) (#12), followed by Lower Sackville (5.11%) (#22) and Bedford (5.50%) (#30).  Halifax was the only Nova Scotia community in the bottom 10, (6.72%) (#49). (continued.)

•    Four New Brunswick communities were included in the study, Riverview had the lowest collision claims frequency (5.00%) (#14), followed by Saint John (5.08%) (#21), Fredericton (5.51%) (#31) and Moncton (5.61%) (#33).

Study Methodology
Allstate Canada conducted an in-depth analysis of company collision claims data to determine the safest communities based on the frequency of collisions. The study spans a 24-month period beginning July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2014, and also offers a comparison to the data from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2012.

To ensure the data provides a realistic outlook of what is happening on roadways, only communities with at least 1,500 cars insured by Allstate Canada during the 24-month period were included in the study. The Allstate Safe Driving Study began in Ontario in 2007 and has since expanded to include communities in Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

This year, 60 communities in the provinces where Allstate Canada has agency locations were included.

Claims data is limited to collisions for which there was a payout; claims for incidents such as break-ins or vandalism are not included in this analysis. Two-year periods were chosen to provide a larger sample for more meaningful analysis. Survey data ranks frequency of collisions, not severity of accident. Collision data can be traced back to the registered car address. The study itself does not include the personal information of Allstate customers.

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