WINNIPEG — The year isn’t even over and there have already been more people killed on the roads in almost 10 months of 2016 than in all of 2015.
On Thursday, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) reported 85 road fatalities in 2016. The numbers have gone up considerably compared to 2015, when 78 fatalities were reported for the entire year.
“This is about coming together as a community and saying ‘enough is enough,'” Minister of Justice Heather Stefanson said.
MPI, provincial officials, RCMP, Winnipeg police and a victim of impaired driving all spoke out Thursday, urging drivers on the roads to not get behind the wheel if they’re impaired and ignore distractions from their cellphones.
The latest tragedy to hit community was the death of 17-year-old Colin Roer of Lorette. Roer was the passenger in a car when it rolled over Sunday morning. RCMP said alcohol was involved in the incident but no charges have yet been laid.
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MPI’s breakdown of the numbers tells a striking story of who is being killed on the roads — and what caused their deaths.
- 38 per cent of driving fatalities this year due to driving impaired.
- 20 per cent of deaths were due to speeding.
- In 11 out of 85 deaths, seat belts were not worn.
- 70 per cent of the deaths were men and one-quarter were people under the age of 25.
MPI also said while driving deaths are spread all over the province, there is a clear urban and rural divide: 75 per cent of 2016’s driving fatalities have been on rural roads.
Cheryl Derry said she has seen enough. Her husband Mark, 53, was killed in a head-on collision in 2011. The driver who hit him was 19-year-old Vann Hansell, who was found to be driving over the legal limit and had also been texting and driving moments before the crash.
Schuler was also adamant that legislatively, the province has done everything they can, and said “if you’re caught drinking and driving, we do seize the vehicle. The laws are all there.”
But Schuler believes that it is down to each person to make the right decision and spread the message that impaired driving and texting and driving is not acceptable behaviour; they are ultimately choices that can take lives.
Schuler added, “I suspect this will never end. We’re going to have to do this forever, to remind people.”