Saskatchewan's deadliest year puts focus on distracted driving

Distracted driving killed more people than drinking and driving in 2012.
SGI recorded 57 fatal collisions in 2012 were due to distracted driving. (CBC)

For the first time in Saskatchewan's history, distracted driving caused more fatal collisions than drinking and driving.

SGI recorded 173 fatalities up to December 17, 2012, and 57 of those fatal collisions were attributed to distracted driving. There were 54 fatal collisions due to drinking and driving in 2012.

Using your cell phone while driving is illegal, but it's still causing deaths on Saskatchewan roads.

Other forms of distracted driving, such as playing  video games or eating can be dangerous, too, according to RCMP spokesman Sgt. Paul Dawson. "I recall seeing someone eating a bowl of cereal once while on the way to work," Dawson said.

Kwei Quaye, a traffic safety expert with SGI, said people still believe that they can get away with distracted driving.

"We need to stay vigilant with respect to educating drivers as to the impact of not paying full attention to the driving task," Quaye said. "We see from the numbers, people are using the phone, driving at high speeds and getting killed."

Distracted and drunk driving crashes have combined to kill more people on Saskatchewan roads in 2012 than any other year.

RCMP reported 162 deaths on Saskatchewan highways in 2012.

According to RCMP, the previous record was 151 fatalities in 2001.

Along with distracted and drunk driving, there are a number of other factors that contributed to fatal collisions. SGI reported unbuckled seatbelts were a factor in 52 fatalities in 2012.

Here is a breakdown of the top three factors in fatal collisions in 2012:

  Distracted Driving Drinking Driving (Alcohol Related) Speeding
January 6


February 2 4 2
March 10 8 5
April 4 8 6
May 3 6 5
June 11 6 3
July 6 9 5
August 12 5 7
September 2 3 1
October 1 2 2
November 0 0 0
December 0 0 0
Total 57 54 37
(Source: SGI)