The number of fatal collisions on the province’s roads is the lowest it has been in the past 10 years, according to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
On Thursday morning, Quebec provincial police released their road safety report for 2019, which reveals the number of crashes ending in death decreased from 237 in 2018 to 216 in 2019.
“It’s a record for the Sûreté du Québec,” said Capt. Paul Leduc. “We’ve never had such a low number.”
While the number of deaths is on the decline, Leduc said there is still room for improvement and that many families are still mourning those they lost in the past year.
“We still have to work,” he said. “We have to get it down to zero.”
The SQ points out that the lowest number of fatal crashes in the past decade comes even as the number of vehicles on Quebec streets and highways continues to grow.
However, the provincial police force reports that while fatal collisions are on the decline, risky behaviour from drivers continues to be a concern.
Excessive speed is the most common cause of fatal collisions in the province. The SQ said excessive speed or dangerous driving was the cause of nearly 30 per cent of crashes in 2019.
In 2019, impaired driving accounted for about 10 per cent of deadly collisions on Quebec roads. The provincial police force said it arrests nearly 17 people per day for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“We are seeing an emergence of other factors, like distraction,” said Leduc.
The police captain said smartphones behind the wheel have become a fatal distraction over the past 10 years. The SQ reported that distracted driving led to 17 fatal collisions in 2019.
Safer roads in the future
While deaths on Quebec roads were reduced to the lowest number on record ever recorded, president of Corporation des Concessionnaires d’Automobiles du Québec (CCAQ) and former transport minister, Robert Poëti says new technologies and safety features in modern cars have helped play a major role in saving lives.
“The way the cars are built today they are a lot better and stronger with all the new technologies,” Poëti said.
He says features such as automatic breaking and lane assistance are only the beginning to creating a safer road system.
Poëti said advancements in electric and driver-less cars will completely remove the risk of human error from behind the wheel.
“They are going to drive by themselves, they are driving computers, ” he said.
— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and the Canadian Press