Collision study pins fault on the driver, mostly

EDMONTON — If you find yourself getting into a few more fender benders than you’re comfortable with, consider staying in on Friday afternoons.

Alberta’s 2007 traffic collision statistics reveal there are more collisions on Friday than any other day of the week, with afternoon rush hour the peak time for crashes.

Overall, fatality rates remained the same as last year in Wild Rose Country, but injury rates have decreased since 2006. When it comes to the blame game, Alberta’s 2007 traffic collision statistics show that nine out of 10 collisions in the province are caused by driver error.

In 2007, 24,530 people were injured in traffic collisions — 1,434 less than in 2006. Collisions increased by nearly eight percent for a total of 153,901 and 458 people died in collisions, five more than in 2006. Compared to five years ago, the number of vehicles on Alberta’s roads has increased by more than 500,000.

“While the actual number of collisions has dropped, I’m concerned that drivers are simply not getting the message that they must take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel,” said Luke Ouellette, Minister of Transportation. “I urge everyone to slow down and be more careful behind the wheel.”

As for the trucking sector, in 2007 there were 81 people killed and 754 injured in collisions involving truck-tractors. Compared to drivers of other vehicles, truck drivers were more likely to run off the road, make an improper turn or make an improper lane change but less likely to have consumed alcohol before the crash.

Driver error was a contributing factor in 90.9 percent of all traffic collisions, up by 0.3 percent compared to the 2006 statistics. Following too closely (29.2 percent), running off the road (15.7 percent), and turning left across the path of an oncoming vehicle (13.0 percent) were most frequently identified as contributing to collisions causing injury or death.

Other factors which contributed to reported collisions in 2007 were: driver condition, 4 percent; speed, 6.7 percent; and vehicle condition, 0.6 percent.

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