The number of people dying and getting seriously injured on roads patrolled by the Sûreté du Québec continues to drop, according to statistics made public on Tuesday.

The SQ said it recorded a 7.2-per-cent drop in fatal crashes and a 16-per-cent drop in collisions resulting in serious injuries from 2012 to 2013.

The number of fatal collisions dropped from 279 in 2012 to 259 last year, said Captain Paul Leduc of the SQ’s traffic safety division.

The number of people killed in the fatal collisions also dropped from 329 to 277 during the same period. Those killed include motorists, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Collisions resulting in serious injuries dropped from 909 in 2012 to 759 in 2013.

Speeding, motorists not adjusting to poor driving conditions and impaired driving continue to be the leading causes of the collisions.

However, a combination of factors has led to the steady decline in the number of fatal crashes on provincial roads during the past few years, despite the fact there are more drivers on the highways, Leduc said.

The SQ has specifically targeted speeders, drivers who refuse to wear seatbelts and impaired drivers.

A heavy police presence on the highways and various educational programs have persuaded many drivers to slow down, he said.

“If drivers perceive that the risk of getting caught is high, they will automatically slow down,” Leduc said.

The SQ has also worked with police forces in Montreal, Ontario and Vermont to target a specific problem at the same time each year. In December, they focused on drunk driving and last Easter, they concentrated on stopping motorists who were drinking or not wearing seatbelts.

“We think that if we have a joint effort (with other police forces), we are going to have better success,” Leduc said.

Leduc said programs such as Opération Nez Rouge and education initiatives launched by Mothers Against Drunk Driving have also contributed to the decrease in fatal collisions.

“We see more young people saying they need to have a designated driver,” he said “It’s getting to be part of the culture.”

Theresa-Anne Kramer, a spokesperson for MADD Montreal, said her group continues to educate young people about the dangers of impaired driving and of getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.

“About 84 per cent of young people killed by an impaired driver are killed by a peer, a friend who is driving,” Kramer said.

She said MADD volunteers continue to speak to young drivers at driving schools about the consequences of impaired driving. “We present a video of victims talking about their loved ones who were killed in crashes,” Kramer said. “I think these programs really do help.”

Kramer said MADD would like to see Quebec reduce the legal blood-alcohol level to 0.05 from 0.08, as is the case in other provinces in Canada. The Quebec government announced it was going to lower the legal alcohol limit in 2010, but backed down on its plan saying Quebecers weren’t ready for it.

A spokesperson for Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec welcomed the SQ’s statistics on decreased fatal collisions and said they’re in line with what province-wide statistics will show when the SAAQ releases them later this spring.

“It’s a combination of educational and publicity campaigns, police departments intervening, legislation, and drivers being more responsible,” said Mario Vaillancourt.

Source: The Montreal Gazette


Last updated on: 2014-03-24 | Link to this post