OTTAWA—The federal government may want to consider driving school for its bureaucrats if it wants to cut costs.
The government’s books show fender benders involving federal vehicles in recent years cost taxpayers $28 million in repairs or write-offs.
A Canadian Press audit of the fed’s financial statements since 2000 found at least 8,511 vehicles have been in accidents. But the actual tally is probably higher since not all departments report the number of collisions every year.
The Mounties are allegedly responsible for two-thirds of the cost of collisions, totaling $18.8 million.
The RCMP has been in at least 4,596 motor-vehicle accidents since 2001, more than any other department or agency in the Public Accounts documents. But its annual crash tallies have only been reported in the Public Accounts since 2006, so the 10-year total is likely far higher.
According to public records, the Mounties were involved in 1,068 accidents last year, up from 427 in 2006.
But a spokeswoman for the force says given the nature of police work, there is little wonder why the RCMP gets in more collisions than any other branch of government.
“We are the only government agency involved in active policing. The RCMP fleet is the largest in the federal government other than National Defence and our officers and vehicles are on the road 24/7,” says Cpl. Laurence Trottier.
He says the RCMP is also the only government agency that travels in all types of weather, putting the force in more situations where accidents and collisions are common.
But Mounties are not the only ones banging up their vehicles.
Staff at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency got in at least 999 accidents at a cost of nearly $2.4 million.
No one from the CFIA was available for comment.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans came in third, with at least 749 accidents, totaling $1.6 million, followed by the Correctional Service of Canada, with at least 647 accidents that also cost $1.6 million.
Other departments piling up fender benders include the Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada, Agriculture, Human Resources and Skills Development and Transport Canada.