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EYES ON THE ROADS

Crash trends in Canada’s Major cities

Story by KATE NG

Have you ever wondered where the jobs on your production floor met their fate? Well, according to publicly available crash data statistics, some of those cars could have come from the same place. Collision Repair mag collected data on the most common areas for intersections in three major Canadian cities: Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario.

VANCOUVER

Vancouver’s Insurance Corporation of British Columbia includes data for fatal and non-lethal collisions. Unlike Montreal and Toronto, ICBC’s data is voluntary and based on driver claims.

MONTREAL

Montreal’s Vision Zero is an open data initiative by Quebec’s provincial police, indicating fatal collisions between 2019-2021, but only contains mandatory reports due to fatalities involved.

TORONTO

The Toronto Police Service has publicly available data fatal collision data between 2018-2020. Unlike Vancouver and Montreal, this dataset has no information from 2021. It only contains mandatory reports due to fatalities involved.

This data is sourced from sets primarily intended for insurance and law enforcement use. Matthew Philp, a professor of marketing at Toronto Metropolitan University highlights that the data has massive differences that makes comparison between the cities nearly impossible.

For instance, these two maps of Toronto and Montreal have drastically different sizes, meaning that the downtown crash density in Montreal would appear more spread out if overlaid across Toronto.

While the towing industry might employ this data to plan actual routes in so-called chasing practices, Matthew highlights that these nefarious strategies can only go so far–longstanding industry stereotypes and news stories of customers having vehicles stuck in repair shops waiting for parts or converters getting stolen in OEM lots means that customers are increasingly wary during the repair process. “Most people that take their car to get repaired do not know anything about their cars. That puts garages in an incredibly beneficial position, and people are really worried about this,” he explains.

Repair shops have one way to approach the unaware customer, says Matthew–clearly communicating with customers to build a solid foundation. At its core, going back to basics and ensuring good services and excellent customer relations.

“If you just keep providing good service, word will get out there. It’s not going to be immediate like advertising, which might get a lot of business but its very expensive.”

Rather than a long-term strategy, advertising creates a short term burst of customers – customers you can retain in the long run. Offering discounts, and honest, ethical salesmanship might create that interpersonal touch to create a long-term customer. Get enough of these customers and their reviews might establish your shop as the best in your area.

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