Fatalities on Quebec roads reached 10-year low in 2019, SQ says

There were nearly 100 fewer deaths on Quebec roads last year compared to the start of the decade, according to an annual report on road safety released by the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) Thursday.

In 2010, 347 people died as a result of fatal collisions on SQ territory. That number dropped to 232 in 2019.

“One death on the road is one death too many,” said Capt. Paul Leduc. “But in recent history, it’s the lowest number ever.”

Leduc credits the decrease to changes in how the SQ and local police services keep an eye on the roads.

He said things have changed since he started working 25 years ago, when officers assigned to traffic were just told to patrol their sector.

“[Now] we know where the crashes occur. We know what time they occur. We know the reasons why they occur,” he explained. “So we work more specifically in those areas … it’s targeted work.”

However, the SQ said that certain behaviours are still as dangerous as ever.

Speeding was a factor in over 30 per cent of fatal accidents in 2019, leading to 64 deaths.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was the probable cause of 10 per cent of crashes. The SQ said its officers arrest 17 people for drunk or high driving every day.

Distracted driving — such as using a cell phone while at the wheel — caused 17 fatal collisions, representing eight per cent of all deadly crashes alone.

The report also highlighted the importance of wearing a seatbelt: 25 victims of fatal crashes in 2019 were killed when they weren’t strapped in.

Leduc said stricter laws — such as heavier fines for distracted driving and photo radar cameras — are giving officers more tools to enforce better driving behaviour.

But he said officers can’t take all the credit.

“Cars are getting better, they’re getting safer. The roads are being built safer,” he said. “It’s really a concerted effort.”


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