Numbers released by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) today confirm there were significantly fewer deaths involving alcohol and drugs on Saskatchewan roads in 2017. Preliminary data from SGI shows there were 39 deaths* on Saskatchewan roads in 2017 from collisions involving alcohol or drugs, and approximately 340 injuries*.
Both numbers represent significant decreases in those categories from the previous year and from the five-year average. From 2012-16, Saskatchewan averaged 596 injuries and 57 deaths resulting from collisions involving alcohol or drugs. Of the 39 fatalities, 34 were alcohol-related, while five were attributed to drugs**. There was a 40 per cent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities between 2016 and 2017.
Even with the dramatic improvement in 2017, impaired driving remains a serious concern, and is still the top cause of fatalities on Saskatchewan roads. With the pending legalization of cannabis by the federal government, Saskatchewan has taken a zero tolerance approach to drug-impaired driving. Legislation introduced last fall is anticipated to pass this spring. The province also introduced legislation to strengthen penalties for impaired drivers who transport children in Saskatchewan. *These numbers are preliminary, based on data available from police forces in Saskatchewan, and may be adjusted based on additional information from the Coroner’s office or other sources. **Many impaired collisions involve people who have been using both alcohol and drugs. Because alcohol is more readily detected, many collisions involving both are often simply classified as “involving alcohol.”