Inside Logistics

Deaths up due to transportation-related accidents

Rail, marine and aviation accidents cause 157 deaths

February 21, 2013
by MM&D staff

Gatineau, Quebec—The number of deaths due to commercial transportation-related accidents, excluding trucking, was slightly higher in 2012 than it was in 2011.

Last year, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) was called to investigated 157 fatalities. In 2011 that number was 154.

Even though the number of fatal accidents was higher, according to the TSB’s annual statistical report the 2012 accident rate was very similar to that experienced in 2011. A total of 2,881 occurrences (to use the TSB’s terminology) were reported in 2012. That works out to approximately eight per day, which is the same as the 2011 rate. The TSB is tasked with investigating aviation, marine, rail and pipeline incidents and accidents.


The TSB reports there were 82 rail-related fatalities in 2012. In 2011, 71 people died in accidents involving trains and railway equipment. The 2012 figure is also higher than the TSB’s five year average, which is 76.

Although the TSB says the number of accidents that occurred under federal jurisdiction—1,011—was “similar” to 2011’s total, the figure was actually higher. There were 1,022 in 2011. The overall trend, however, seems to be a decline in rail-related incidents as 2012’s number represents a 10 percent decrease from the 2007-2011 average of 1,128.

According to the TSB, rail accidents involving dangerous goods totalled 118 last year, which is the same as 2011, but down from the five-year average of 147.

In 2012, there was a total of 204 rail incidents, the same as in 2011 and comparable to the five-year average of 202.


The TSB’s figures indicate the number of marine accidents declined 12 percent in 2012 from the 2011 level. Last year, 286 marine accidents were reported. In 2011 there were 326. The 2012 number is also 27 percent lower than the 2007-2011 average which was 391.

In comparison, however, the number of incidents was up: 274 in 2012 versus 221 in 2011. The five year average was 248.

On the positive side, there were fewer marine fatalities in 2012 (12 deaths) than there were in 2011 (16 deaths).

Shipping accidents (those not involving fishing vessels) which comprised 83 percent of marine accidents, decreased to 236 in 2012 from 287 in 2011 and from the five year average of 337.

Reportable incidents increased to 274 in 2012 from 221 in 2011, up from the five year average of 248.


Aviation accidents rose 13 percent between 2011 and 2012. Last year there were 290 accidents. In 2011 there were 257. Both figures, however, are lower than the five year average of 292.

There was a total of 42 fatal aviation-related accidents in 2012, resulting in the deaths of 63 people.  Of the 42 accidents, 25 involved airplanes (17 registered privately and six registered commercially), seven involving helicopters (five of which were commercial aircraft) and eight involving ultralights. The remaining two fatal accidents involved “other” aircraft, which is a TSB classification including “balloons, gyroplanes, gliders, dirigibles, hang gliders and similar aircraft types”.

The number of aviation occurrences—926— is 16 percent lower than the 2007-2011 rate.

Accidents involving air taxi operations account for nearly 50 percent of all commercial air incidents.