SGI has released its 2022 Saskatchewan Traffic Collisions Report, providing information on vehicle accidents occurring in the province.
The report looks at collisions in the Traffic Accident Information System (TAIS), which includes those instances on public roads where individuals were injured, or where estimated costs for repairs to property or vehicles were over $5,000.
The total number of collisions reported in TAIS in 2022 was 29,983, which is a 23 per cent increase compared to 2021. However, Tyler McMurchy, manager of media relations with SGI, says the numbers aren’t the full story, and that 2021 was not a typical year for collisions.
“Substantially lower than we typically see in a given year, and that’s attributed, in large part I would say, to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Going back several years to 2019, the total number of collisions was 28,886, or 3.53 per 100 licensed operators, compared to 2022 at 3.56 collisions per 100 licensed operators.
McMurchy says that the long-term statistics show that the number of personal injury collisions and fatal collisions are going down. “The trends in crashes resulting in fatalities and injuries have shown a steady decline since the late 80s.”
He says that in 82 per cent of fatal collisions that happened in 2022, one or more of the following factors played a role: impairment, driver distraction or inattention, excessive speed, or a vehicle occupant not wearing a seat belt. 2022 saw 104 fatalities resulting from collisions.
“We really need to remember that traffic fatality statistics are a lot more than numbers. Each one of those represents a person that lost their life and a family and a circle of loved ones that were devastated by that. We have to acknowledge that and that’s why it’s so important that we continue to talk about this.”
“If no one ever drove impaired, if no one ever drove distracted or excessively fast, and if everyone wore their seatbelts, our traffic fatalities would be substantially reduced, and we would save dozens and dozens of lives.”
Most collisions happen at intersections. The 2022 numbers show that 61 per cent of collisions with injuries and 26 per cent of collisions with fatalities took place at intersections. McMurchy urges that drivers coming to intersections make sure that they are looking both ways, yield when they don’t have the right of way, and be mindful of traffic lights and pedestrians who might be crossing.
Wearing a seatbelt has been a law in Saskatchewan since 1977, and McMurchy says statistics show that not wearing one increases your risk of being injured or killed. 2022 numbers show that there was a correlation between the use of safety restraints and the severity of injuries, with 7.4 per cent of occupants who used safety restraints being injured and sustaining either major or fatal injuries, versus 48.2 per cent of those who did not use safety restraints.
“If you are travelling at 50 km/h and you come to a sudden stop, that’s like falling out of a four-story building in terms of the force that’s generated.”
“You’re not safer if you’re thrown clear of a vehicle. Your vehicle is designed to crumple around you, and keep you safe in that passenger compartment, but one of the ways that you will stay in that area is if you are wearing your seatbelt. Your body is not designed to absorb the force of a collision the way your vehicle is.”
If you do find yourself in a collision with another vehicle, steps you can take include getting photos of the scene, getting witness names and contact information, and exchanging information with the other drivers involved including your name, customer number, and license plate number.
McMurchy says that sometimes claims can be made directly to SGI, and collisions do not always require a call to the police. "You should report the collision to police if someone was injured or worse, [or] if one of the drivers appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if one or more of the vehicles isn’t roadworthy and has to be towed.”
Other instances that would merit a call to police include the involvement of a vehicle without a valid license plate or an out of province plate, or damage to other people’s property or public property. You can find more tips on what to do following a collision on SGI’s website here.
Claims to SGI can be made online, by visiting a claim centre in person, or by calling their customer service centre. You will want to provide them with any information you collected at the scene of the accident, as well as any information about additional auto insurance you have.