Impaired driving fatalities in Saskatchewan sees record-low numbers in 2019: SGI

SGI says it is seeing record-low numbers in 2019 when it comes to impaired driving fatalities and injuries. Dave Parsons / Global News

People in Saskatchewan seem to be getting the message when it comes to impaired driving, Saskatchewan Government Insurance says.

Recent impaired driving fatalities and injuries numbers are the lowest that SGI has on record.

In 2019, 21 people lost their lives as a result of impaired driving and 332 injuries. Between 2009-2018, deaths due to impaired driving averaged 54 annually, with 595 injuries.

READ MORE: Regina man charged with impaired driving with grandchild in vehicle

“Our government has worked with victims’ families, law enforcement, advocacy groups and other stakeholders on a number of fronts to improve safety on our roads and fight Saskatchewan’s impaired driving problem,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said.

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“The 2019 numbers are further evidence that Saskatchewan is making major progress on the province’s historically high impaired driving rates. The result is more lives saved and fewer families having to experience the unspeakable tragedy of seeing someone they love killed or severely injured due to impaired driving.”

Hargrave credits the downward trend to a number of things including enforcement, increased awareness through impaired driving campaigns along with the number of families sharing their stories of heartbreak.

“I truly believe the work those families do — whether it’s in an SGI campaign, working as MADD ambassadors or simply by sharing their experience in conversations — has saved lives,” Hargrave said.  “It’s impossible to hear their stories and not be touched by what they’ve gone through.”

READ MORE: New Saskatchewan road signs show where impaired drivers have been caught

Linda Van de Vorst lost her son, daughter-in-law and two young grandchildren by an impaired driver in 2016.

“No one should ever have to experience the pain of losing a loved one to something as senseless and unnecessary as impaired driving,” Van de Vorst said.

“It’s encouraging to see progress on Saskatchewan’s impaired driving rates. We have the power — and the responsibility — to keep impaired driving from destroying anyone else’s life.”

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MADD Canada is calling Saskatchewan’s record-low impaired driving numbers a team effort.

“Reducing impaired driving in a significant way requires strong and effective laws, consistence enforcement, impactful awareness and the cooperation of the public,” MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie said. “Saskatchewan is achieving all those goals.”

New Saskatchewan impaired driving laws were put in place in 2014, 2017 and 2018, bringing tougher consequences to drivers that included vehicle seizures, licence suspensions and steep financial penalties.

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