Edmonton sees spike in traffic fatalities

EDMONTON – The Edmonton Police Services believes several factors, including “an absence of fear for our own mortality,” have led to a sharp increase in deadly traffic collisions on city roads.

EPS reports there have been 12 traffic-related fatalities in 14 weeks.

The first traffic death of 2013 happened on Feb. 4.

Since then, there were two traffic-related deaths in each of February, March, and April.

However, so far in the month of May along, there have been six fatalities.

“Our investigative teams have been working around the clock dealing with the carnage,” says Sgt. Gary Lamont, of the EPS Major Collision Investigation Unit. “Certainly, some of these files have been very unique and unpredictable, but for the most part, there seems to be an absence of fear for our own mortality on Edmonton roads right now.”

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EPS says a combination of factors have created the deadly scenario this month: people finally getting on the road after a long winter, a couple of weeks of warm weather,  a holiday long weekend, and alcohol.

“We continue to proactively message the public on the need to drive responsibly, to refuse the desire to push the pedal or squeeze the throttle too hard and to take a cab home if you’re going to be drinking,” adds Lamont.

“At some point, Edmontonians need to embrace these messages and take responsibility for their actions on the roads and understand the split-second decisions they make can cause a lifetime of pain for the family members and loved ones left behind to grieve their loss.”

EPS says these crashes traumatically alter the lives of many families, and have left Traffic Section investigators looking for answers.

Scott Pattison, spokesperson for EPS, says police are still getting calls from Edmontonians who require counseling after Melinda Green was killed at a Jeep show accident on Saturday. He says many did not witness the crash, but knew Green, and need support dealing with the tragedy.

A two-year-old boy was killed Sunday evening when a vehicle crashed through a restaurant patio and into his family. The toddler died, and the driver is now facing impaired driving related charges.

Pattison says police officers and victim services continue to address the after effects of that horrible situation.

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“We all saw the devastation and the pain one family is now dealing with after losing one of their babies over the May long weekend,” says Lamont. “Each one of us should be taking a moment to reflect on these tragedies and the devastation being unnecessarily wreaked on our community and take steps to change our own individual habits while on the road.”

Pattison says it is unbelievable that Edmonton has seen six traffic fatalities already in May. He believes in order to address this issue, the community must take ownership of it, and have serious, frequent discussions about responsible driving.