While alcohol-related collisions decreased and seatbelt usage was up, the number of fatalities on Saskatchewan roads last year remain a concern.
According to preliminary statistics from SGI�s Traffic Accident Information System (TAIS), 147 people died as a result of traffic accidents in the province in 2005. This represents a 17 per cent increase from the 2004 figure of 126. Fatalities were also seven per cent higher than the previous three-year average of 137.
Alcohol was a factor in 42 fatal collisions in 2005. It represents a 16 per cent decrease from the previous three-year average of 50 collisions. Fewer people were also injured as a result of alcohol-related crashes. In 2005, 670 injuries were recorded, a 17 per cent drop from the previous three-year average of 810.
Overall, we continue to see a long-term decreasing trend in the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents and associated casualties (injuries and deaths) in the province. However, alcohol-related accidents continue to be the leading contributor to traffic fatalities in the province.
�Drinking and driving is still a significant road safety problem in Saskatchewan,� says Kwei Quaye, Manager of SGI�s Traffic Safety Evaluation. �All deaths from driving after drinking are preventable, and we will continue to work with the public and law enforcement to raise awareness of this serious issue.�
The proportion of fatally injured vehicle occupants who were unbelted decreased from 45 per cent in 2004 to 38 per cent in 2005. Low seatbelt use continues to be a problem on provincial highways, rural roads and First Nations roads. Thirty-two per cent of deaths on provincial highways and 52 per cent of deaths on rural roads involved unbelted occupants. All of the fatalities on First Nations roads involved unbelted people.
Also of concern is the fact that the number of fatal collisions in urban areas increased 35 per cent – from 16 collisions in 2004 to 23 in 2005. Fifty-seven per cent of these collisions occurred at intersections.
�Too many people continue to be injured and die on Saskatchewan roads as a result of traffic accidents,� says Quaye. �SGI is committed to working with Saskatchewan law enforcement, highway and municipal engineers and other stakeholders to improve road safety in the province.�
Preliminary 2005 casualty collision statistics were released with the complete 2004 TAIS report.
The complete TAIS annual report is also available on SGI�s website at www.sgi.sk.ca.