Hamilton, Ontario Road Safety Overview

Hamilton, Ontario Road Safety Overview

Data shows that driving in and around Hamilton may be becoming more dangerous. In 2022, Hamilton saw a 19% increase in the number of traffic deaths in the city, a number that continued a three-year trend of increasing fatalities. This corresponded with an uptick in the number of injury accidents and overall motor vehicle collisions. 

But exactly how at-risk you and your loved ones are if you drive in Hamilton cannot be revealed by a single statistic. Instead, understanding the various types of car accidents that can happen and the reasons why they occur can give you the tools and information you need to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash.

Hamilton Car Accidents By the Numbers

Statistics available from the City of Hamilton’s Annual Collision Report show that 8,087 collisions happened in the city in 2022. This is an increase of approximately 1,200 collisions from 2021, when there were 6,815 traffic wrecks. 

The lowest number of accidents within the preceding five years happened in 2020, with only 6,619 accidents. However, there was substantially less motor vehicle traffic on the roads that year.

In 2022, there were 1,144 accidents that resulted in injuries, which is slightly less than 2021’s total of 1,162 injury collisions. Sixteen crashes in 2022 resulted in at least one fatality, which is unchanged from the previous year. Finally, the remaining 6,927 traffic wrecks were classified as property damage-only crashes. 

Nine pedestrians lost their lives in seven fatal crashes in 2022. There was only one fatal bicyclist collision. Nonetheless, the city reports that its number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities was about 1% lower than the Provincial average.

Trends in Motor Vehicle Collisions in Hamilton

In its Annual Collision Report released in 2023, the City of Hamilton noted several historical trends for the five years preceding 2022. 

For example, the report noted that:

  • One crash happened every 65 minutes
  • A person was killed in a traffic crash every 23 days
  • Someone was injured in an accident every eight hours
  • A collision between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist happened every three days
  • A collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian happened every two days

The most common types of vehicles that were involved in motor vehicle accidents included cars, pick-up trucks, and vans.

Locations of Hamilton Traffic Crashes

The annual report further identifies intersections as the most common place where accidents occur. About 55% of all collisions took place at intersections as compared to any other location. And over 37% of all fatal accidents occurred at intersections. 

About two-thirds of these accidents happened at intersections controlled by a signal, while there was a stop sign present at 30% of the intersections.

However, when it comes to fatal crashes, the most common place these collisions happened was mid-block between intersections. Over 60% of fatal accidents occurred at this type of location, compared to about 37% that happened at intersections.

Common Causes of Traffic Accidents in Hamilton

Distracted driving was a factor in about 20% of all injury and fatal crashes, according to the Annual Collision Report. Motorists can be distracted by several things beyond a text message or a phone call. 

Whatever the distraction, it increases the risk of a collision by taking the driver’s eyes or focus off the road. Some distractions, like food and drinks, prevent the driver from having full control over their vehicle. 

Impaired driving was a factor in 4% of fatal and injury collisions. When you are impaired by alcohol or some other drug, your perception and judgment can both be negatively affected. 

You can find it difficult to see other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists on the road in time to avoid a crash – if you see them at all. Your coordination is also impacted, meaning you are not as in control over your vehicle as you would be sober.

Speed is also a frequent contributor to accidents of all severity levels. Speeding increases both the risk of injury or death in a crash and the likelihood that a collision will occur. The faster a vehicle is traveling at the time of a crash, the more damage and force it has to cause damage to property and people. 

Similarly, a car or truck that is speeding will be more difficult to control and stop in time to avoid a crash.

Factors Present in Fatal Collisions

The annual report identified two factors that were commonly present in fatal traffic crashes. The first of these factors is that the driver involved lost control of their car. 

There can be several reasons why a driver might lose control of their vehicle, including speeding or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Distracted drivers can also have trouble controlling their vehicles, especially if they must react quickly.

Speeding was a factor present in 6.3% of fatal accidents. In 12.5% of fatal traffic crashes, a driver made an improper turn. This occurs when one driver attempts to complete a turn when they do not have the right of way to do so. 

Right-of-way traffic laws are meant to promote traffic safety by telling drivers when they can proceed on their way and when they must wait. Forgetting or disregarding these laws when turning can lead to a side-impact collision, where many vehicles have less protection.

Staying Safe on Hamilton Roads

Although the number of traffic crashes in Hamilton is increasing overall, this does not mean that you are guaranteed to be involved in a crash in the city. You can effectively protect yourself by exercising caution around intersections. Make sure to avoid driving while distracted or impaired, and following speed limits and right-of-way rules is key.

Whether you are traveling by foot, bicycle, or car, ensure that you are observing traffic around you. By following safe driving practices, you can safeguard your family against accidents in Hamilton.