100 people die every year on Manitoba roads. MPI wants drivers to change that

Manitoba's auto insurer is challenging drivers to look beyond the deadly statistics and focus on the real people and lives lost on roadways in the province every year.

Manitoba Public Insurance's Save the 100 campaign underscores human cost of distracted, impaired driving

Tammy Rosko, left, left behind her husband and five children after she was the victim of a fatal crash on the Perimeter Highway in August. Back row from left: Rosko, Kelsey Horn, Brent Horn, Evan Horn and Braden Horn. Front row from left: Ryan Horn and Jaysey Horn. (Submitted by Mike Rosko)

Tammy Rosko's husband and five children will live the rest of their lives without her because another driver veered over a median and hit Rosko's minivan head-on in August.

Drivers should remember such tales of loss and ongoing sorrow each time they get behind the wheel, Manitoba's auto insurer says.

Manitoba Public Insurance launched its new "Save the 100" public awareness campaign Wednesday at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute.

The project, which started with question-provoking billboards appearing before the official launch, aims to get motorists more invested in roadway safety by considering the ripple effect fatal crashes had on the loved ones of the 100 people on average who died in collisions each year over the past decade.

"Many Manitobans have become desensitized to hearing about road deaths, particularly if there is no personal connection to the victim or victims," Satvir Tkachuk, vice-president of communications for MPI, said in a statement.

"However, the reality is that every single person killed in a motor vehicle collision over the last decade had a personal connection to someone. Each and every one of their lives mattered."

Rosko died after a truck collided with her minivan on the Perimeter Highway at Brady Road in August. (Submitted by Jinder Dhillon)

MPI says distracted driving played a role in 41 per cent of road deaths last year; impaired driving contributed to 31 per cent; and 18 per cent were attributed to speeding.

What's more concerning is that nearly half (49 per cent) of drivers killed weren't wearing seatbelts, MPI officials said.

"These are the hard numbers that demonstrate most fatal motor vehicle collisions are fuelled by dangerous, illegal or otherwise high-risk driving behaviour," Tkachuk said. "It also tells us that most, if not all, of these collisions are preventable."

Save the 100 highlights the weekly deaths that happen on streets and roads in Manitoba. Each person killed in a crash was a co-worker, friend and family member to someone, MPI said.

The initiative builds on the 2017-20 "Road to Zero" safety plan launched last year. It includes goals to better co-ordinate road research and planning across agencies, improve safety for vulnerable drivers through smarter road designs and reduce impaired and distracted driving through increased cultural awareness of road safety.

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