Greater Sudbury sees 25% more collisions in 2022 than last year
Police have responded to 12 serious collisions so far in 2022
There have been 25 per cent more reported collisions in Greater Sudbury so far this year, compared to the same period last year.
In 2021, the city's Collision Reporting Centre counted 2,941 collisions from Jan. 1 to Sept. 18. For the same time period in 2022, 3,684 collisions were reported to the centre.
Joe Rocca, the city's acting director of infrastructure and capital planning, said he believes there have been more collisions this year because there are more cars on the road.
"We need to keep in mind that last year we were still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and there were restrictions for people working in the workplace," he said.
"So there was a reduction in traffic, especially at the beginning part of that year. If you have less vehicles on the road, you tend to have less collisions."
While there have been more collisions overall this year, only a small number have required a police response, due to serious injuries or death.
Greater Sudbury Police said that in 2021 the traffic management unit responded to 31 serious or fatal collisions. So far this year, they've responded to 12 collisions.
Rocca said it's possible that with fewer cars on the roads last year, speeding could have been a bigger problem due to less congestion.
"So then when they do get into a crash, the consequences of that become more serious," he said.
Speeding a major cause of crashes
Greater Sudbury Police Sgt. Blair Ramsay said speeding is the most common cause of serious crashes in the city.
"When we look at the overall causes of the collisions, definitely the common denominator is speed, Ramsay said.
But he added that impaired driving continues to be a problem.
In 2021, Greater Sudbury Police arrested and charged 338 impaired drivers – under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. So far this year, Ramsay said police have arrested and charged 198 impaired drivers.
Ramsay said police continue to have education campaigns to prevent speeding and impaired driving.
The city has also has a number of traffic calming initiatives in place to stop drivers from speeding.
Most recently, six red light cameras were activated at six busy intersections on Sept. 21.
Rocca said the city has also installed safety bollards on 10 streets, which narrow roadways and force drivers to slow down if they don't want to risk hitting them.
He said the bollards have been found to reduce speeds by four to 10 kilometres per hour.
The city also has a pilot project where it has reduced the posted speed limit on some roadways.
Both Rocca and Ramsay said the issues around speeding in Greater Sudbury are the same as in other cities.
"When I talk with my peers around the north or across the province as a whole, they share similar concerns that we share," Rocca said.
"They're seeing an uptick in speeding on residential roadways. They're seeing the similar types of collision numbers that we're seeing."