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Alberta aims to improve road safety in light of recent stats

EDMONTON, Alta. -- Alberta has released its 2003 accident statistics and it plans on taking steps to improve road s...


EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta has released its 2003 accident statistics and it plans on taking steps to improve road safety in the province as a result of some disturbing numbers.

Every day in Alberta one person is killed on the province’s road and more than 70 people are injured. There has been virtually no improvement in recent years, which has prompted the province to take action.

“Traffic safety is a government priority and I am frustrated with the poor driving habits of so many Alberta road users,” said Ed Stelmach, Minister of Transportation. “We all believe we are good drivers but traffic safety is a shared responsibility and drivers need to follow the rules of the road. There are too many people dying on our roads because of the same three driver errors, year after year.”

The most common driving errors include following too closely; running off the road; and making unsafe left turns in front of oncoming traffic. The highest rate of accidents involves male drivers between 16 and 19 years of age. Other statistics suggest traffic fatalities were up more than three per cent compared to 2002. More than 20 per cent of drivers involved in fatal crashes had consumed alcohol prior to the incident. And there are more traffic accidents on Friday than any other day of the week.

Seventy-six fatalities and 782 injuries were caused by accidents involving truck tractors, according to the province.

The province has commissioned a review of traffic safety in the province and plans to follow on the recommendations included in the report. The report was issued by Don McDermid, a former RCMP accident commissioner.

“Today we begin to change these numbers. Don McDermid’s review of traffic safety in Alberta resulted in nine excellent recommendations that the provincial government has accepted and will begin work on immediately,” said Stelmach. “I am confident that with the proper plan and resources in place, we will see a reduction in the collision statistics in the coming years and I hope, a change in driver attitudes.”

McDermid made nine recommendations in his report, entitled "Saving Lives on Alberta’s Roads: Report and Recommendations for Traffic Collision Fatality and Injury Reduction Strategy."

They ranged from increasing funding for road safety initiatives to taking advantage of new technology to improve highway safety. The province has agreed to address each of the issues raised in the report.

“I think Don’s report clearly identifies the need for four things when it comes to tackling the large and complex problem of traffic safety: leadership, accountability, education and enforcement,” said Stelmach. “Without these, the number of collisions in this province will continue at epidemic proportions.”

To view the full report, visit www.trans.gov.ab.ca/Content/doctype48/production/SavingLives.pdf.


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