Despite pandemic, fatal traffic accidents increased in Quebec in 2020

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The number of fatal collisions increased slightly on the roads patrolled by the Surete du Quebec (SQ) in 2020, according to the provisional report released Thursday morning. 

Across the province, the SQ recorded 228 fatal accidents, 11 more than the previous year.

The increase was most marked in the Lanaudiere and Mauricie regions, from 29 collisions including fatalities in 2019 to 55 fatal accidents in 2020.

Conversely, the Laurentians and Outaouais regions saw this number decrease by half, from 40 to 20 accidents with loss of life.

Motorcycle deaths up

The SQ's road record for 2020 is very gloomy for motorcyclists, who were more likely to lose their lives on the roads of Quebec.

Out of 52 collisions involving at least one motorcycle, there were 54 fatalities in 2020.

The average was 41 fatal motorcycle accidents for the previous five years.

While the number of pedestrian fatalities decreased slightly from 2019, from 21 to 18 fatalities, the number of cyclists who suffered the same sad fate increased slightly, with six fatalities, two more than the average for the past five years.

Speeding number one cause

The 2020 report shows that among the main causes of fatal collisions on the province's roads, speeding and reckless driving represent 29 per cent of cases.

Distracted driving or inattention were factors in 14 per cent of fatal crashes, followed by driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs as well as fatigue in 10 per cent of cases identified by the SQ last year.

Also, nearly 20 per cent of traffic accident victims who died were not wearing their seat belts in 2020.

The SQ emphasizes that it is maintaining its efforts to ensure the safety of road users, whether through the work of its patrollers or awareness campaigns.

However, the SQ would like to remind drivers that they must adopt safe driving behaviour and exercise caution to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision. 

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021.

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