A driving concern

Texting and driving is an emerging problem for safety on P.E.I. roads.

Highway fatalities on Prince Edward Island appear to be on the rise.

Fatalities by year

  • 2007: 6
  • 2008: 19
  • 2009: 11
  • 2010: 10
  • 2011: 15

After just six (excluding pedestrian deaths) in 2007, annual deaths have remained in the double digits, with 15 so far in 2011.

An analysis of the factors in those accidents quickly brings into focus three leading causes: impaired driving, seatbelt use, and speeding. Together, these three were factors in nearly three quarters of all fatal accidents on the Island.

Choosing a leading factor is difficult. Police cite speed as a factor in 28 cases and lack of seatbelts in 27. Impaired driving is not far behind with 22 cases. Two or more of those factors played a role in nearly half of the fatalities, making it difficult to separate out which is the most significant.

Surprisingly absent from factors in fatal accidents is road conditions, which are mentioned in only a handful of cases. About two thirds took place is what would be considered the good weather months, from May to October. No one has died on an Island road in February in the last five years.

It is also worth noting that only a few of the fatal accidents involved people who lived off the Island.

[IMAGEGALLERY galleryid=1452 size=large]

CBC-TV's Compass has prepared special reports on speeding, impaired driving and seatbelt use on the Island. A fourth report looks at an emerging concern, texting and driving.


Katie Banks was severely injured in a high-speed crash. (CBC)

Since 2007, police on P.E.I. have handed out more than 20,000 speeding tickets.

The CBC's Brian Higgins looks at the problem of speeding on the Island. He talks to Katie Banks, who was seriously injured when the driver of the car she was in lost control while going 176 km/h.

Watch the video here.


Leslie MacDonald lost his arm in a collision with a drunk driver. (CBC)

From 2007-11, there have been almost 2,000 convictions for drunk driving on the Island.

The CBC's Steve Bruce finds P.E.I. has a higher than average rate of drinking and driving. Hundreds are convicted every year. In 2011, six have already died in what police believe are alcohol-related crashes.

Watch the video here.


Islanders are amongst the most likely in Canada to ignore seatbelt signs. (CBC)

Since 2007 close to 3,000 Islanders have been fined for not using a seatbelt.

Stephanie vanKampen looks into why people on P.E.I. are less likely to use a seatbelt than in any other province. Lack of seatbelt use was in a virtual tie with speed as a leading factor in fatalities on P.E.I.

Watch the video here.


More than 200 have driving and texting convictions. (CBC)

There have not been fatalities on P.E.I. roads due to texting and driving, but Ryan Hicks discovers there have been accidents.

Since texting and driving was made illegal in 2010, there have been more than 200 convictions.

Watch the video here.