Fall is the worst season for collisions

Town of Slave Lake Traffic Safety Report

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The main purpose of the Town of Slave Lake’s traffic safety plan is to guide efforts in reducing collisions. But when it comes to data on collisions, there aren’t many that actually happen on town property. Most fender-benders, it turns out, happen on private property. Or – in other cases – on the highways, which belong to Alberta Transportation.

This was part of a report for town council at its Feb. 2 meeting, presented by community services director Garry Roth.

The statistics in the report are a bit dated – covering a period from 2014 through 2018. Good news, though: the number of annual collisions declined by 25 per cent during that span. But there were still 856 of them in those five years, with one fatality.

Fifteen per cent of those collisions happened at intersections.

Fall is the worst time for collisions, with 28 per cent of the total. Summer is the best, at 21 per cent.

And the worst time of day for collisions: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. – 58 per cent of collisions in Slave Lake happened in those hours.

Speed is a factor in many collisions. Reducing it is the focus of much of the work of the town peace officers, as well as the automated traffic enforcement program. In his report, Roth said the great majority of drivers are driving at reasonable speeds.

“But some are well in excess,” Roth said. “There are always a couple of high flyers in the 140 (kilometres per hour) range, in the 60 zone.”

Councillor Joy McGregor had something to say about distracted driving. Ten years the law has been in place, she said, and “I still see people texting, talking on the phone and trying to turn. I hope we can make a better dent in that.”

Speaking of which, February is distracted driving month on the Alberta Traffic Safety Calendar. Roth’s report included the fact that although distracted driving is observed often, it is hard to prove, so as a cause of accidents it doesn’t show up much in the statistics.

Fifteen per cent of collisions in Slave Lake happen at intersections.

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