Manitoba RCMP urge heightened caution amid relaxed COVID-19 restrictions

Cochrane RCMP respond to a two-vehicle collision on Highway 1 and Highway 22 on Friday, July 17, 2020. Global News / Jerry Favero

Manitoba RCMP say they are responding to a lot more fatal crashes since COVID-19 public safety lockdowns have eased.

According to the police service, six Manitobans have died this month from vehicle-related collisions.

Last week, a 36-year-old Winnipeg man lost his life after a head-on crash with a semi north of the city.

Mounties’ investigation found the pickup truck driven by the victim crossed into the other lane, where it crashed into the semi, and then rolled in the ditch.

The driver of the pickup was pronounced dead at the scene while the semi driver was uninjured.

Read more: Motorcycle, SUV drivers sent to hospital after Sunday night crash

RCMP Sgt. Paul Manaigre says there have been 20 deaths from vehicle collisions so far this year, compared to 32 by the same time last year.

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“Now with the summer months coming and restrictions being slowly lifted, we’re expecting more vehicle traffic which we understand is going to lead to more high-risk driving behaviours. We’re just hoping this number doesn’t creep up and people need to stay alert because in July and August there are going to be a lot of vehicles on our highways.”

Manaigre says in addition to increased traffic, construction season is now fully underway and drivers need to be extra vigilant.

“If you’re not paying attention it could cause a collision with other vehicles or even stationary objects on the roadways.

“Everyone needs to be paying attention so that you get to where you’re going and so can everyone else.”

Manaigre says despite the high number of deaths in June, the yearly total for 2021 is expected to be lower than last year.

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With the arrival of summer and loosened public safety restrictions, Manaigre is also asking the public to mindful of safe practices around waterways and to swim within their limits.

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“People are going to be hitting those lakes so caution has to be the main priority for everyone. You can’t be driving a boat and drinking at the same time.”

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“If you’re out on the water on a raft, please wear a lifejacket because you can get pushed out pretty quickly with the winds we see come up in Manitoba pretty quickly.”

Manaigre says four people have already drowned in Manitoba this year, three of whom passed away on the same day in early June.

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