Edmonton – Despite an increase in population and an increase in the number of drivers on the road, traffic fatalities and injuries on Alberta’s roadways dropped for the second consecutive year, according to statistics released by the province Tuesday.
Alberta Traffic Collision Statistics 2009 show 351 fatalities in Alberta in 2009, compared with 410 in 2008, a decrease of 14.4 per cent. Injuries decreased 12.9 per cent over the same period. 22,015 people were injured in collisions in the province in 2008, while 2009 saw that number reduced to 19,167.
The report shows that although the majority of 2009 collisions occurred in July, the majority of injury-related collisions took place in September. Casualty rates were highest among the 15 to 24 age group, with male drivers aged 18 and 19 having the highest involvement rate among casualty collisions.
The government report shows that 21.1 per cent of drivers involved in traffic fatalities had consumed alcohol prior to the collision.
Alberta’s Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette said he is pleased with the direction of the latest statistics. “This is about all of us—every Albertan—and the role we play in making our roads safer,” he said in a release on the latest statistics. “I believe the Traffic Safety Plan and the great work of all our safety partners are making a difference. While these reductions indicate that we’re making progress, we have to be vigilant—we can always do better.”
The statistical report shows that driver error continues to be the contributing factor in 90 per cent of the province’s traffic collisions. The most frequent driver errors include following too closely, running off the road and making a left turn across the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Frank Oberle, Alberta’s Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security said he believed that enforcement and the integration of the Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol and the RCMP have had an impact on the numbers.
“Law enforcement’s visibility on our roads serves as a constant reminder to aggressive drivers and speeders that high-risk driving will not be tolerated,” he said.
That presence could account for the 66 per cent increase in traffic charges over the Labour Day long weekend from the same period in 2009. RCMP and Alberta’s Sheriffs issued 3,951 charges between Sept. 3 and 6, the majority (3,317) of which were speeding tickets.
The 2009 Alberta Traffic Collision Statistics are available online at www.transportation.alberta.ca/statistics.