Transport accidents on the rise in Canada

by MM&D Online Staff

GATINEAU, QC—In 2013, a total of 3,395 transportation occurrences (accidents and incidents) were reported to the TSB. Overall, the number of accidents increased by three percent from 2012. Compared to the five-year average, the number of incidents increased, yet the number of accidents (more severe occurrences) decreased by four percent. Of note, aviation accidents in 2013 decreased by five percent from the previous year. The number of fatalities rose in 2013, largely due to the number of deaths in Lac-Mégantic.

A total of 1067 rail accidents were reported to the TSB in 2013, a four percent increase from the 2012 total of 1027, but comparable to the five-year average of 1070. There were 127 rail-related fatalities in 2013, including the 47 lives lost in the Lac-Mégantic accident, up from 83 in 2012, and up from the five-year average of 76. Accidents involving dangerous goods also increased, with 144 in 2013, up from the 2012 total of 119, and from the five-year average of 133. Of these, seven resulted in the release of dangerous goods. Rail incidents decreased, with a total of 218 incidents, down from 235 in 2012.

There were 305 marine accidents reported in 2013, a six percent increase over 2012. However, there was a 15 percent decrease from the 2008-2012 average of 357. The number of lost vessels decreased significantly, with 15 vessels reported lost in 2013, down from 24 in 2012, and down from the five-year average of 27. Fishing vessel fatalities totalled 16 in 2013, up from six in 2012, and from the five-year average of 11. There were 716 marine incidents reported in 2013.

The pipeline industry reported 11 accidents in 2013, up from seven in 2012, and up from the 2008-2012 average of nine. However, the number of pipeline incidents decreased, with 118 in 2013, down from 173 the year before. The last fatal accident involving a pipeline under federal jurisdiction occurred in 1988.

In the aviation industry, 275 accidents were reported to the TSB in 2013, a five percent decrease from the 2012 total of 291, and a four percent decrease from the 2008-2012 average of 285. Commercial air operators were involved in 23 percent of accidents, half of them involving air taxis. Fatal accidents were down to 36 in 2013, compared to 42 the year before, but the number of fatalities remained the same at 63. There were 685 aviation incidents reported to the TSB.

A reportable transportation occurrence is an accident or incident associated with the operation of a ship, pipeline, railway rolling stock or aircraft under federal jurisdiction as 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.

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