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Fatalities down, but collisions continue to increase on Alta. roads

EDMONTON, Alta. -- There were fewer fatalities on Alberta highways in 2002, but the number of accidents increased b...


EDMONTON, Alta. — There were fewer fatalities on Alberta highways in 2002, but the number of accidents increased by nearly eight per cent over the previous year.

In 2002, there were 116,308 collisions on Alberta roads, that’s up significantly from 107,391 in 2001. On the flip side, however, there were 372 fatalities a drop of roughly eight per cent from 2001.

"I am continually frustrated with the poor driving habits of so many Albertans," said Ed Stelmach, Minister of Transportation. "High-risk driving behaviour has got to stop. There is only so much the provincial government or traffic safety organizations can do to legislate or educate. Drivers have to start taking responsibility for their actions and obey the rules of the road."

A total of 90 per cent of the collisions were blamed on driver error. The most common mistakes were following vehicles too closely, driving off the road and making unsafe left turns in front of oncoming traffic.

In order to combat the rising number of vehicle accidents, the province has implemented a graduated licensing program.

"Driver inexperience is a common factor in injury collisions, particularly involving young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24", said Stelmach. "Statistics show that the 48,000 new drivers entering the licensing system each year have a much higher collision rate than more experienced drivers."

The province has also increased fines and penalties substantially this year and has cracked down on impaired drivers.


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