Road injuries and deaths trending downwards compared to 2008 stats

Saskatchewan Government Insurance is seeing progress when it comes to the number of injuries and fatalities on Saskatchewan’s roadways.

Initial data shows there were 4,220 people injured and 129 killed in vehicle collisions back in 2018, but it’s a 34-per-cent decrease when looking at stats from 2008 when there were 6,353 injuries and 142 deaths.

The stats have yet to be finalized since more reports could arrive later in the year to affect these results.

However SGI did confirm there were more deaths last year compared to the 100 reported in 2017.

A reason for the rise in deaths is due to the Humboldt Broncos tragedy in April 2018 when 16 people were killed and 13 were injured.

“Any death on the highway is tragic, but when you lose 16 lives, that’s a pretty serious number,” said Joe Hargrave, Minister responsible for SGI. “We have to remember even though our numbers are declining, it’s family members getting injured and getting killed.”

When analyzing numbers from what the Crown corporation calls their “Big Four” categories (impaired, distracted, seatbelts, speed) to the 10-year average, each category saw a drop in numbers.

  • Impaired driving: 355 injuries and 42 deaths (658 injuries, 57 deaths in 2008);
  • Distracted driving: 768 injuries and 22 deaths (1,847 injuries, 43 deaths in 2008);
  • Speed/aggressive driving: 541 injuries and 23 deaths (899 injuries, 35 deaths in 2008); and
  • Seatbelts/improper use of restraint: 164 injuries and 42 deaths (257 injuries, 35 deaths in 2008).

But Minister Hargrave believes there is still lots more work to be done in order to bring the numbers even lower.

He said issues such as distracted driving may even see harsher penalties in the future if people don’t obey the rules of the road.

Hargrave stated how police have issued around 1,000 distracted driving tickets every month in Saskatchewan.

“Our current fine is $280, but maybe that’s not enough,” Hargrave told reporters at the SGI head office on Friday. “Maybe it has to be substantially more, maybe you lose your car for a while or your license for a while. We’re still working on those numbers.”

When asked if it’s something that will be discussed during the fall sitting of the legislature, he replied “I would think so”.

SGI says their goal is to have the safest roads in Canada and to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries altogether.

Vice President of Traffic Safety, Driver and Support Services Kwei Quaye mentioned how it’s positive to see these improved numbers.

“We’re on the downward trend faster than the national trend is moving,” he noted. “We believe in the next few years that we’ll hopefully catch up to the national average and we’ll be on our way to our goal of being the safest in the country.”

Trends in Saskatchewan’s traffic casualties show that the province went down from 4,716 deaths and injuries in 2017 to 4,349 last year.

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