October driving appears most risky
This October, take your time driving home from work on Fridays.
Traffic statistics for the province were released this week, and the numbers for the Central Region — covering from Wetaskiwin to Airdrie and spanning nearly the width of the province — show that the Friday afternoon rush hour was the time period with the highest amount of crashes, while October saw the most fatal collisions in 2012.
The numbers paint a mixed picture compared to the year prior — there were 44 fatalities in 2012, an increase of eight, but the number of people injured in collisions was down 155 to 1,703.
By contrast, 2008 was a particularly deadly year on Alberta roads, with 66 people killed and 2,080 injured.
In the long-term picture, the province’s roads are becoming safer, said regional traffic safety consultant Len Wagner.
While the province’s population has increased at a rate of about 100,000 people per year over the last decade, the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths have stagnated or decreased.
“Overall I think we’re doing really well and it’s a concerted effort by everyone — law enforcement, education, health. As long as everybody keeps at it, we’re going to win the battle some day. Not sure when, but I’d be real happy if it was to happen next week,” said Wagner from his Stettler office.
The most at-risk group remains adult males in the 18-34 age group, said Wagner.
Seventeen per cent of drivers involved in fatal collisions had consumed alcohol before the crash, and over half of those drinking drivers were males under 35.
“They’re high risk, those guys. We’ve got to reach them somehow,” said Wagner.
Alcohol-related casualty crashes were most common on September Saturday nights in rural areas.
The regional data also shows that there were 60 collisions causing injury or death to pedestrians, with Fridays being the most dangerous day and one in six of the affected pedestrians having consumed alcohol.
There were 22 collisions causing injuries to cyclists, with nearly one-half of the bicyclists involved having made “an improper driving action.”
The number of motorcycle collisions causing injury or death was up across the province, according to Wagner.
Province-wide, there were fewer collisions and injuries in 2012 compared to the year prior, but 32 more fatalities. In total, 18,220 people were injured in traffic collisions in 2012, and 345 people were killed.
The number of fatalities in 2012 was similar to 2009 and 2010, but significantly lower than 2008 (410 fatalities) and the 458 reported in 2007.
There was a two per cent rise in the number of drivers registered in Alberta in 2012, while the number of vehicles registered rose by four per cent.