News release

TSB releases preliminary 2018 transportation occurrence statistics

Gatineau, Quebec, 6 March 2019 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its preliminary transportation occurrence statistics for 2018. An initial review of the preliminary occurrence information highlights some noteworthy observations. In the spring, the TSB will release its complete and final statistical reports for 2018, including accident rates and a more thorough analysis of the data.

Air transportation

Air transportation data for 2018 show some encouraging trends. For example, the number of aviation accidents (201) that were reported to the TSB in 2018 was substantially lower than the 5-year average of 249 (figure 1). A strong drop in flight training accidents following a 2017 peak has brought commercial operator accidents to a total of 66 in 2018, compared to 97 last year and to the 5-year average of 80.

There were 860 aviation incidents reported to the TSB in 2018. This number represents a substantial decrease compared to the previous year (939) but is still higher than the 5-year average of 797.  The TSB is reviewing the reported Risk of Collision and Loss of Separation incident data to uncover factors that could help explain why the number of these incidents remains persistently high.

Figure 1. Number of aviation accidents 2017-2018
(5 year average)
Number of aviation accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Data table
Number of aviation accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Year 2017 2018
Accidents 240 201
5-year average 249 249

View the December 2018 air transportation occurrence statistics.

Marine transportation

There were 283 marine accidents reported to the TSB in 2018, just above the 2017 total of 279 and below the 5-year average of 287 (figure 2). Although the number of fishing vessels involved in accidents was lower than the previous year, 12 of the 15 fatal marine accidents and 17 of the 22 marine fatalities were related to the commercial fishing industry. Clearly, more needs to be done to improve safety in this industry. That is why commercial fishing safety will remain on the TSB Watchlist of key safety issues until more positive change is accomplished.

Some 936 marine incidents were reported to the TSB in 2018. This number represents a 6% increase from 2017 and a 22% increase from the 5-year average of 768. Most (78%) reportable incidents were related to total failure of machinery or technical system.

Figure 2. Number of marine accidents 2017-2018
(5 year average)
Number of marine accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Data table
Number of aviation accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Year 2017 2018
Accidents 240 201
5-year average 249 249

View the December 2018 marine transportation occurrence statistics.

Railway transportation

Railway transportation data for 2018 show mixed results across the mode. Overall, 1170 railway accidents were reported to the TSB in 2018, a 7% increase over 2017 and a 13% increase from the 5-year average of 1035 (figure 3). Most of the increase relates to non-main-track derailments of 5 or fewer cars.

There were 57 rail-related fatalities reported in 2018, 19 fewer than the previous year and well below the 5-year average of 74. Among the 2018 fatalities, 34 involved trespassers, compared to 53 in 2017 and to the 5-year average of 41. Crossing accident fatalities remained stable in 2018 (19) relative to 2017 (19) and to the 5-year average (21). However, the number of serious injuries due to crossing accidents nearly doubled in 2018 (42) compared to 2017 (22) and to the 5-year average (24). To better understand these data, the TSB will examine underlying factors for crossing accidents.

Among all railway accidents reported to the TSB in 2018, 125 involved dangerous goods. This number was up from 115 in 2017, but down slightly from the 5-year average of 126. Six accidents in 2018 resulted in a dangerous goods release.

There were 285 railway incidents reported to the TSB in 2018, a 21% increase from 2017 (235), but a 7% decrease from the 5-year average (308). This decrease is partly due to the retroactive application of a June 2016 regulatory change by Transport Canada that revised the criteria for a dangerous goods leaker from a volume-based threshold to outcome-based consequences, resulting in the re-categorization of a number of occurrences. Consequently, the number of dangerous goods leak incidents between June 2016 and December 2018 fell from 78 to 1.  Almost half (137) of all railway incidents in 2018 were Movement Exceeds Limits of Authority incidents – 15 more than in 2017 and above the 5‑year average of 125.

There were 44 accidents involving an uncontrolled movement, and 15 Uncontrolled Movement of Rolling Stock incidents in 2018, compared to 48 and 14 respectively in 2017, and 5-year averages of 44 and 13 respectively.

Figure 3. Number of rail accidents 2017-2018
(5 year average)
Number of rail accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Data table
Number of rail accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Year 2017 2018
Accidents 1091 1170
5-year average 1035 1035

View the December 2018 rail transportation occurrence statistics.

Pipeline transportation

There were 110 pipeline occurrences reported to the TSB in 2018, compared to 127 in 2017 and to the 5-year average of 119 (figure 4). The number of pipeline occurrences reported to the TSB involving a release of product in 2018 was substantially lower than in previous years (41 in 2018 compared to 74 in 2017 and to the 5-year average of 75). Nine of the 41 product release occurrences in 2018 involved a release from a pipeline body.

The single reported pipeline accident in 2018 was a 36" sweet natural gas pipeline rupture and fire about 13 km northeast of Prince George, British Columbia on October 9. No injuries resulted from that accident. The TSB investigation into this occurrence is ongoing.

There were 109 pipeline incidents reported to the TSB in 2018, compared to 122 in 2017 and to the 5-year average of 115. Forty percent of pipeline incidents involved hydrotechnical activity in 2018, compared to 13% in 2017 and to the 5-year average of 3%.

Figure 4. Number of pipeline accidents 2017-2018
(5 year average)
Number of pipeline accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Data table
Number of pipeline accidents 2017-2018 (5 year average)
Year 2017 2018
Accidents 5 1
5-year average 4 4

View the December 2018 pipeline transportation occurrence statistics.

Please refer to the detailed statistical tables for more information.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail 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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca

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