Edmonton, Alberta — You would expect most to jump from joy when told vehicle collisions have been on the decline in Edmonton, Alta.–in this industry, that is simply not the case.
According to statistics from the Edmonton Police Service, there were 35,819 collisions in the city in 2019. But the latest data reveals there have been only 21,854 recorded collisions in 2020 (up to Nov. 19, 2020).
With Canada immersed in COVID-19 mode during the period from March 15 to Nov. 18, 2020, only saw 13,155 collisions in Edmonton. By comparison, the same period last year saw 21,262 collisions.
The decline in the city’s collisions is likely due to many Edmontonians working from home amid the pandemic, which has led to less traffic and thus lower collision risks.
Several collision centres in Edmonton have reported slowdowns in business due to the drop in auto collisions.
“We’ve seen a lot of a lot less traffic [through the door], and a lot fewer insurance claims,” according to Doug’s Place Collision Repairs director of fixed ops, Jack De Sena. “The autobody industry is directly impacted by claims and accidents.”
Thanks to less traffic, continued De Sena, the impact is even greater and more noticeable.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has also observed the drop in collisions in Alberta and is expected to see a lower frequency in auto claims in Alberta for the rest of 2020. However, IBC is also anticipating a potential increase in the severity of claims due to recent changes in driving behaviours, based on data collected in the U.S. during the start of the pandemic.
“We have heard some reports of some of that dangerous driving happening in Alberta, but also right across the country as fewer people are on the roads, fewer people looking at what you’re doing, a little bit more road and room for you to try some new things,” said IBC Western vice president Celyeste Power.
“And that is leading to the worst collisions than we would see in any normal year. So that’s a pretty worrying trend from a public safety perspective.”