In 2017 Saskatchewan recorded the lowest number of traffic fatalities in more than six decades.
There were 102* deaths on Saskatchewan roads last year, a notable improvement from the 125 deaths in 2016 and the yearly average of 145 deaths in the previous decade (2007-2016).
The last time Saskatchewan recorded fewer traffic deaths was in 1954, when 74 people were killed. For context, there were less than one-third the number of registered vehicles in the province as there are today.
Historically, impaired driving, distracted driving, speed, and lack of a seat belt or occupant restraint are the top contributing factors in vehicle deaths.
The number of traffic deaths does fluctuate year-to-year, but fatalities have gradually been trending downward after peaking in the 1960s and 1970s (the all-time high was 306 in 1974), thanks to improvements in traffic laws, safer road infrastructure, driver education, more focused law enforcement and safer vehicles.
In 2012, however, the number of traffic deaths spiked back up to 183, prompting the formation of a Special Committee on Traffic Safety. The recommendations from that committee resulted in a number of traffic safety initiatives and new legislation aimed at saving lives on Saskatchewan roads.
While a significant reduction in the number of people killed or injured in traffic collisions is welcome news and a great start, one thing is clear: there is still a long way to go to achieve Saskatchewan’s goal of having the safest roads in Canada.
Those actions include:
Drive sober or plan a safe ride.
Put the phone down and avoid other distractions.
Obey speed limits and slow down when conditions warrant.
*These numbers are preliminary, based on data available from police forces in Saskatchewan, and may be adjusted.