New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of serious injuries resulting from traffic accidents in Canada, according to a new report.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information studied data back to 2006. It found the rate of serious injury per 100,000 people is on the decline across Canada, but is higher than average in New Brunswick.

In New Brunswick, about 450 people per 100,000 are hospitalized by injury every year. In raw numbers for 2010-11, 63 New Brunswickers were hospitalized by crashes and 22 people died.

That placed the province third nation-wide for injuries and sixth for deaths. By comparison, Nova Scotia saw only 10 deaths and 45 hospitalizations over the same period, or about 400 injuries per 100,000.  

In total, 2,000 Canadians die every year in vehicle crashes.

Claire Marie Fortin, a manager with the institute, said dangerous accidents most often occur in late afternoon and evening. Almost half of all serious crashes in Canada happen between 4 p.m. and midnight. Fridays are the worst time for accidents.

"One can hypothesize that at the end of the week, people are very relaxed and very focused on their weekend and perhaps stopping in somewhere on the way home," she said.

Unintentional injuries, which include traffic accidents, are the fifth most common cause of death in Canada.

She said the institute hopes its analysis shows a clear pattern that could help prevent serious accidents.

Daily crashes

Jim McLean, the owner of Loyalist City Towing in Saint John, said his company sees the results of accidents all the time.

"There's an accident every day. It's very rare we're not out," he said.

Alcohol is a major factor, he added, and he most crashes he deals with happen after 5 p.m.

Seatbelts and airbags save lives, but often leave destroyed cars and damaged drivers.

"One guy wrapped his car right around a pole, but everybody got out," he said.

"Airbags are amazing."