Deaths on N.L. roads tripled this spring from previous year, says RCMP

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Sixteen people died on roads in Newfoundland and Labrador from April to June, up from five people in the same time period last year. (CBC - image credit)
Sixteen people died on roads in Newfoundland and Labrador from April to June, up from five people in the same time period last year. (CBC - image credit)
CBC
CBC

The number of deaths on Newfoundland and Labrador's roadways between April and June were three times higher than the year prior, according to the RCMP.

Sixteen people died across 12 accidents in the three-month period, according to a news release from police. Eleven of those deaths involved cars and trucks on the province's roads, while the other five fatalities involved off-road vehicles.

That number is up 11 deaths from this time last year, when five people died in five separate incidences from April to June 2021.

RCMP Cpl. Jolene Garland, the force's media relations officer, says many crashes share similar common denominators: impaired driving, aggressive or distracted driving and drivers not wearing a seatbelt or helmet.

"Unfortunately year after year we seem to stick with the same factors in fatal collisions throughout the province," Garland said Thursday.

"This year between April and June, we've had a number of motorists who were ejected from their vehicle because they weren't wearing a seatbelt. And that certainly assisted in their death."

Of the 27 fatalities on the province's roads in 2021, 50 per cent of people weren't wearing seatbelts, Garland said. Thirty-six per cent of crashes involved an impaired driver and 24 per cent of people were speeding excessively.

A number of accidents have also involved vehicles crossing the centre line of highways, she said, highlighted by an incident involving two transport trucks on the Trans Canada Highway near Bishop's Falls in June.

We need to learn from the past to have a better future, but it doesn't seem to happen.  - Cpl. Jolene Garland

Garland says police are concerned the number of fatalities could rise further as the summer continues, especially as Come Home Year festivities bring tourists and travellers across the province.

As crashes and fatalities become more frequent in the summer months, she says it's never easy for those on scene and the families involved.

"Crash scenes are chaotic. There's so much happening so fast. The various smells and sights that are at the scenes are very traumatic, very troublesome," she said.

Ted Dillon/CBC
Ted Dillon/CBC

"Oftentimes you have factors of loved ones who are coming to the crash scene because they've heard of a collision they believe their loved one was in. So that certainly makes it very challenging."

Garland hopes the statistics can change habits to lower the number of incidents in the future.

"I feel drivers are just not in tune with what's going on around them, and in tune with the risks they're taking each and every time they get behind the wheel…. Life changing, altering effects," she said.

"We need to learn from the past to have a better future, but it doesn't seem to happen. We need to put on our seatbelts. We need to drive sober. We need to put on our helmets. We need to exercise patience, caution, drive defensively. Keep the speed down."

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