Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — In an unfortunate revelation for Saskatoon residents, the city saw a rise in auto collisions over the past year, eight of which were fatal, and 513 more injured, according to new police data.
The data did show, however, that while collisions were up in 2022 as compared to 2021 (4,444, from 4,057), accident rates still remain below pre-pandemic levels for the city.
In 2018 and 2019, the number of annual collisions reached 6,143 and 5,641 respectively.
“It is believed that 2020 and 2021 are an anomaly because of people working from home,” the report says.
What is of note to Saskatoon city council, however, is the uptick in fatalities from auto collisions, as the city has not experienced as deadly a year since 2017. Every year between then and now has seen no more than five auto collision-related deaths.
Reporting from Saskatoon’s Star Phoenix acknowledges that in this case, numbers do not tell the full story here, because by and large, reports of dangerous driving habits like drug or alcohol impairment, distracted driving and speeding all plateaued or declined from 2021 to 2022.
Police say that an increase in protests and marches were factors that led to many officers in Saskatoon’s traffic unit to be reassigned to crowd control duties, with a 40 percent increase in protest activity being recorded since 2021.
It was also noted in the report that 30 km/h speed zones were removed from areas around high schools in Saskatoon, which could have potentially contributed to the overall increase in collisions.