The RCMP urges motorists to exercise more care and caution on the roads as the August long weekend approaches. That warning includes ensuring folks don’t drink and drive. It’s a message we hear often, but for some reason long weekends seem to see a spike in this type of careless and dangerous behaviour.
Part of it of course is that it’s vacation time for many Albertans the last long weekend of the summer for many before school starts and regular routines are back in place.
Therefore, Alberta’s roads and highways will see an influx in the number of vehicles as people head out to their various activities and events this long weekend.
In addition, the warmer weather means more campers, trailers, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians will be travelling throughout the province. The increase in traffic merits an increase in safety awareness on behalf of those traveling in motor vehicles during this coming holiday.
As we approach the coming long weekend, let us not add to the total number of deaths and injuries since our last long weekend.
Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility. The following are just a few safety reminders which would go a long way to ensuring a safe trip on Alberta’s roads and highways – obey posted speed limits, don’t drive distracted – put away electronic devices and concentrate on driving, wear seatbelts and ensure children are safely buckled in an appropriate child restraint, don’t drink and drive and be aware of others on the road – summer weather means sharing the highway with motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists.
RCMP will be operating enhanced check stops across the province.
“Impaired driving has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities,” said Allstate Canada President and CEO Ryan Michel. “But we can help protect ourselves and each other by making responsible choices. Whether you’re going to be on the road, on the water, or on the trails this summer, please don’t drive impaired or accept a ride from someone who is impaired. Your life and the lives of others could depend on it.”
The latest statistics show it was estimated that 2,541 individuals were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Canada in 2010.
MADD Canada estimates that at a minimum 1,082 of these fatalities were impairment-related.
In MADD Canada’s opinion, the 1,082 figure is a conservative estimate, due to the under-reporting that results from the inability to conduct alcohol tests on surviving impaired drivers and from the need to rely on police reports.
Moreover, the figure underestimates the percentage of crash deaths that involve drugs, officials say.
As well, the 1,082 figure does not include individuals killed in impaired crashes on the waterways. It was estimated that there was an average of 135 boating deaths per year from 2006 to 2008 and it appears that more than 50% of these boating deaths involved alcohol and/or drugs.
Nor does the 1,082 figure include fatalities arising from aircraft, trains and industrial vehicles such as forklifts.
Given the limits on the 1,082 figure, MADD Canada estimates there are somewhere between 1,250 and 1,500 impairment-related crash deaths in Canada each year.
For the same year, it was also estimated that about 299,838 individuals were injured in motor vehicle crashes. MADD Canada estimates that approximately 63,821 of these individuals were injured in impairment-related crashes (roughly 175 per day).
Note that this figure is limited to motor vehicle crashes only.
So please be safe this weekend – take your time, be mindful of others and stay away from the drinks before getting behind the wheel.