In late October of last year, the Saskatchewan RCMP sounded the alarm due to a high number of fatal collisions on the highways in Saskatchewan. From September 1st to October 25th, there had been 22 fatal collisions, which averaged out to one every 2.5 days. Of those 22 collisions, six of them occurred in southeast Saskatchewan.
After the concerns were raised, the RCMP noted a significant decrease in the number of collisions across the province, explained the Officer in Charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP Traffic Services, Superintendent Grant St. Germaine.
“I’d like to say that the message in October hit home because, for the month of November and December, we had twelve crashes for that two-month period,” said the superintendent. The reduction has even carried through to this year as well.
“For the first 24 days, knock on wood, of 2024, we’ve had one fatal crash this year, so that puts us significantly ahead of that one accident every six and a half days.”
In total, RCMP in Saskatchewan responded to 71 fatal collisions, with 79 people losing their lives in those collisions. However, nearly half of those collisions happened in the last four months of the year, with 34 being reported. The causes of the fatal collisions aren’t due to any particular trend.
The number of collisions where alcohol either directly attributed to the collision, or was considered to be a causal factor has held steady at around 32 percent, according to St. Germaine, and they are hoping to do more to reduce the number of collisions due to alcohol even further. While they know what one of the causes is, there are still many others.
“There’s no great specific reason,” St. Germaine said. “It makes it difficult, I guess, to go out and be able to do targeted enforcement for one particular causal factor for these fatal crashes, because it just seems to be all over the map.”
He cited one specific incident from last week that had him reminding people that something as simple as following the rules will help to reduce the number of accidents or at least the severity of them.
“On Friday, I happened to pull a young fellow over doing 175 (km/h),” St. Germaine shared. “The problem is, when you’re exceeding the speed, especially at that rate, if you have a tire that blows out, if you have a momentary loss of paying attention at those faster speeds, your reaction and ability to react in time to save yourself from an accident, it just isn’t there.”
Road conditions are another factor. St. Germaine said people must drive to the conditions, especially during the winter when they can change quickly.
“If the roads are icy, or snow-covered, cut the speed back,” St. Germaine said, adding it doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you drive. “The fact that you’re driving a four-wheel drive and the roads are ice-covered and snow-covered, yes, you might have traction, but you still can’t stop.”
St. Germaine noted there are more drivers on the road now, and more traffic of all types, but he is hopeful it all pans out over the entire year, and that we see fewer fatal collisions on the highways in Saskatchewan.