October 14, 2015

Fewer Injuries and Fatalities on Saskatchewan Roads

Safer driving has led to 19 per cent fewer fatalities and 18 per cent fewer injuries in the first year of tougher traffic safety laws, according to preliminary numbers from SGI.  The numbers are for the year-long period July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015.  Traffic law changes in Saskatchewan took effect June 27, 2014 as a result of recommendations made by the all-party Special Committee on Traffic Safety.

“Early numbers indicate your safe driving has saved 30 lives and prevented more than 1,200 injuries,” Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) Don McMorris said.  “Way to go, Saskatchewan!  Thank you to everyone who changed their driving behaviour for the better, helping us reach our 2015 goal.  There is still work to be done so I encourage everyone to keep up your safe driving habits because even one preventable injury or death is too many.”

The Saskatchewan Road Safety Challenge, a province-wide multi-media awareness campaign with a slogan of “We can drive better,” was launched in May 2014, to complement traffic safety law changes.  At the time, traffic fatalities and injuries in Saskatchewan were trending up, and government took action to reverse the trend.  The goal of the Road Safety Challenge is a 10 per cent reduction in fatalities and injuries in the province by Saskatchewan Day 2015, and a 20 per cent reduction by Saskatchewan Day 2017.

On average, 158 people were killed and nearly 6,900 people were injured in traffic collisions each year in Saskatchewan prior to implementation of the new traffic laws.*  Although SGI anticipates the numbers will increase slightly, for the year-long period of July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015 there have been 128 fatalities and about 5,600 injuries reported as of October 1, 2015 – 19 per cent fewer fatalities and 18 per cent fewer injuries.**

“It’s very encouraging to see fewer fatalities and injuries, but we all need to maintain safe driving habits and learn new ones and ongoing education, awareness and enforcement will help,” McMorris said.  “We can drive better and make our roads safer for everyone. At the end of the day, we all want to make it to our destination, or home to our families, safe and sound.”

The Special Committee on Traffic Safety was formed by government in 2013 to address the high rate of injuries and deaths on Saskatchewan’s roads.  Law changes focused on tougher penalties for high-risk driving offences, such as impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding.   The committee also recommended a stronger focus on traffic safety awareness and education activities.  Preliminary data for the year following implementation of the recommendations shows fewer people are being killed and injured in impaired driving, distracted driving and speed-related collisions.   The number of impaired driving roadside suspensions and unauthorized driver vehicle seizures has also gone down.

For more information on the Road Safety Challenge and traffic law changes, visit SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca.

Drivers are encouraged to share their safe driving behaviour changes and ideas on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #wecandrivebetter.

* Based on the four-year average from July 1, 2010-June 30, 2014.

** 2014 and 2015 numbers are preliminary and will change as investigations are ongoing, and SGI receives additional police and coroner reports. These figures reflect information that is known to SGI as of October 1, 2015.