Despite pandemic, 2020 a deadlier year on roads patrolled by provincial police

·1 min read

Even with countless Quebecers working from home and businesses shut down for long periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 saw an uptick in fatal collisions and the number of deaths on provincial police territory.

A total of 228 collisions killed 250 people last year, compared to 217 crashes that killed 233 people the previous year, according to numbers released by the Sûreté du Québec.

Capt. Paul Leduc, who is the head of traffic safety for provincial police, says many of the collisions took place after the province loosened COVID-19 restrictions last summer.

"When we started opening up certain regions, we saw a really big increase of people moving and going toward different vacation spots," said Leduc.

"In those months, we [saw] a really big increase in the number of fatal crashes."

Here's the SQ's breakdown of the main causes for last year's fatal crashes:

  • Reckless driving/speeding (29 per cent).

  • Inattention/distracted driving (14 per cent).

  • Fatigue/impaired driving (10 per cent).

Provincial police say nearly 20 per cent of the victims were not wearing a seatbelt at the time.

Despite the increase in fatal collisions, the SQ says last year's total was still below the five-year average from 2015 to 2019, which is 236.

There were 52 collisions involving at least one motorcycle last year, killing 54 people. The average number of deaths in those types of incidents between 2015 and 2019 was 41.

The death total in 2020 also includes 18 pedestrians and six cyclists.