Distracted driving deaths up, more young people killed in accidents

Quebec's provincial police force has released its annual road report, showing that while excess speed continues to be the main cause of deadly crashes distracted driving is not far behind.

In total there were 244 deadly collisions in 2017, up from 240 the previous year; however the number of people killed in those accidents increased by 3.5 per cent from 260 to 269.

Speed-related road deaths declined last year to 76, down from 89 in 2016. Despite the lower total, speeding still accounts for nearly 30 per cent of fatal crashes.

Distracted driving, which includes using a cellphone while behind the wheel, has for the first time caused more road deaths than drunk driving.

The Sûreté du Québec reported 24 Quebecers died in accidents caused by various distractions, an increase of about 50%. SQ officers hand out more than 10,000 tickets each year to motorists using a cellphone while driving. 

The number of people killed in accidents related to impaired driving fell slightly, making up about nine per cent of the fatal accidents on provincial roads in 2017. Over the course of the year provincial police arrested more than 19 motorists per day for driving under the influence.

While you may think the majority of deadly crashes happen on weekends and during the overnight hours, the latest report says you are wrong.

The majority of fatal collisions (63%) happened in broad daylight, between 8:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. According to the SQ Tuesday proved to be the deadliest day of the week.

Despite seeing a decline over the past four years, the number of young Quebecers killed in accidents saw a large spike. The annual report said there were 57 victims between the ages of 16 and 24, up from 39 the previous year, an increase of 46 per cent. The report noted that of the 57 fatalities, 15 were passengers.

Among those who died, 23 were found to have not been wearing a seatbelt, which according to the SQ represents a drop of 50 per cent.