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Trends in wildlife-vehicle collisions can guide prevention strategies in Canada

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  • 570 persons were killed in wildlife-vehicle collisions between 2000-2020.
  • Approximately 7 out of 10 fatalities (393) were due to a wildlife collision.
  • Approximately 1 in 3 (177) involved swerving to avoid a wildlife strike.
  • The largest number of WVC fatalities occurred in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Ottawa, ON November 28, 2023 – The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) has released a new fact sheet, Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in Canada, 2000-2020, made possible by sponsorship from Desjardins Insurance. It examines the magnitude, characteristics and trends related to motor vehicle fatalities involving wildlife collisions in Canada from 2000 to 2020.

According to TIRF’s National Fatality Database, 570 persons were killed in wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) between 2000-2020. Slightly more than half of these deaths involved moose and nearly one-third were associated with deer. Less than one-tenth involved other animals, including bison, antelope, bears, foxes, ducks, coyotes, wolves, smaller mammals, and birds.

Wildlife-vehicle collisions pose significant safety risks to both humans and animals which makes the collection and interpretation of WVC data essential. The fact sheet serves as a valuable resource, offering much-needed insights to researchers and practitioners to guide the selection of evidence-based approaches to make roads safer, to strengthen wildlife management strategies as well as inform decisions with respect to road design, public education, and the environmental impact of interventions.

“In the absence of good, quality data to understand the dynamics of wildlife-vehicle collisions, it’s incredibly difficult to identify effective and appropriate interventions to mitigate risks,” shares Hannah Barrett, TIRF Researcher and Program Coordinator. “With greater awareness of key factors contributing to these incidents, we can develop targeted solutions that protect road users and also wildlife.”

Seasonal Trends:

  • Seven out of ten (393) wildlife-vehicle collision fatalities occur in Summer months.
  • June (84) and July (87) are when the largest number of fatalities occur.
  • Only one in three (177) wildlife-vehicle collisions occur in the Fall despite this being a peak period for animal migration.

Regional Distribution:

Fatalities due to WVCs are most prevalent in these three provinces:

  • Alberta accounted for 22% (124 fatalities);
  • Ontario accounted for 17% (95 fatalities); and,
  • Quebec accounted for 16% (89 fatalities).

The data demonstrate the need for greater efforts to prevent WVCs. Notably, one in three of these collisions were due to drivers swerving to avoid wildlife which is an ineffective solution because the movement of wildlife is unpredictable and swerving can also result in colliding with other vehicles or a fixed object such as a tree or light pole. This suggests more education is needed to help drivers learn safe strategies to avoid or mitigate risks. In addition, drivers can benefit from a greater awareness of species that are prevalent in their jurisdictions, in particular their habitats and migration patterns, to better anticipate which animals they’re likely to encounter. Information about the types of wildlife involved in collisions is key to guide the selection of wildlife mitigation measures.

“These results emphasize the importance of addressing wildlife-vehicle collisions as a critical aspect of road safety,” states Ward Vanlaar, TIRF COO. “By understanding the patterns and contributing factors, we can work towards implementing effective measures to prevent these tragic incidents.”

Download the fact sheet:

Fatality Database Disclaimer

Data from TIRF’s National Fatality Database may be subject to change as the closure of cases is ongoing. As such, there may be minor differences in this document compared to previous documents reporting on the same topic.

About TIRF Canada:

The vision of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to ensure people using roads make it home safely every day by eliminating road deaths, serious injuries and their social costs. TIRF’s mission is to be the knowledge source for safe road users and a world leader in research, program and policy development, evaluation, and knowledge transfer. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, awards, and donations to provide services for the public. Visit or find all TIRF websites and social media at

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For more information, please contact:

Karen Bowman
Director, Communications & Programs
Traffic Injury Research Foundation
613-238-5235 (office)
1-877-238-5235 (toll-free)
250-797-0833 (direct)
613-238-5292 (fax)

David Bird

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