Drinking and driving deaths spike in 2008
Seventy-four people died as a result of alcohol-related collisions in Saskatchewan in 2008.
According to statistics released today from SGI's Traffic Accident Information System (TAIS), the total number of collisions involving a drinking driver increased 12.5 per cent in 2008, from 1,378 in 2007 to 1,551 in 2008. These collisions resulted in 75 deaths, which is a 63 per cent increase from the previous three-year average of 46 deaths.
More people were also injured as a result of crashes involving alcohol. In 2008, 929 injuries were recorded, a 21.8 per cent increase from the previous three-year average of 872.
Alcohol use continues to be a major contributing factor in casualty collisions in Saskatchewan, especially over the last three years. Though we had seen a long-term decreasing trend in the number of alcohol-related casualty collisions in the province, since 2006 there has been a reversal of this positive downward trend.
"Impaired driving remains one of our most serious road safety concerns in Saskatchewan," said Kwei Quaye, Assistant Vice-President of SGI's Traffic Safety Services. "We continue to focus our resources on increasing impaired driving enforcement and education, and to support this with strong impaired driving legislation. By partnering with law enforcement and the public, we hope to raise awareness and find solutions to help keep people safe on our roads."
The rise in alcohol-related fatalities was reflected in the increase in the total number of fatalities on Saskatchewan roads. A total of 156 people died as a result of traffic collisions in the province in 2008, which is a 9.1 per cent increase from the 2007 figure of 143. Fatalities were also 9.9 per cent higher than the previous three-year average of 142.
The proportion of fatally injured vehicle occupants who were unbelted decreased from 48 per cent in 2007 to 37 per cent in 2008. However, low seatbelt use continues to be a problem, especially on rural and First Nations roads. Fifty-eight per cent of deaths on rural roads and 67 per cent of fatalities on First Nations roads involved unbelted occupants.
Also of concern is the increase in the number of fatal collisions on First Nations roads. In 2008, 14 deaths were recorded, a 90.9 per cent increase from the previous three-year average of 7.3.
The 2008 casualty collision statistics were released with the complete 2007 TAIS report.