Manitoba highway deaths on pace to almost double last year’s total

WINNIPEG —; The number of people who have died in collisions on Manitoba highways is nearly double the total at this time last year.

So far 56 people have died in highway crashes compared to 30 up to the point in 2015.

Impaired driving and a lack of seat belt use are two of the main factors.

Impaired driving crashes have so far killed 21 people compared to 14 last year at this time while 26 people have died not wearing a seat belt compared to just 11 in 2015.

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    Speed has also been a factor, said RCMP Sgt. Mark Hume with Traffic Services.

    “One officer alone last week stopped two different people that were going more than 70 over the speed limits,” said Hume.

    The majority of those crashes appear to be happening on provincial, undivided highways, he continued,

    “Typically the head-on crashes, all those kind of things are happening on the two lane highways,” he said.

    Many of the collisions on those types of highways happen close to Winnipeg and the Perimeter Highway, since the traffic volume is so much higher.

    Stars Air Ambulance responds to serious collisions up to 300 kilometres away from Winnipeg. Last year they went to 85 calls, most which were associated with rural roads and highway speed collisions

    “We often find a lot of trauma on these scenes, from vehicle roll-overs to T-Bones to head-ons,” said Grant Therien, base director with STARS Ambulance.

    This year, there’s been no shortage of calls for the crew to respond to. Last week they were called to a small stretch of Highway 6 twice in two days for two fatal collisions.

    “It’s a reminder that we need to be safe out there and be smart,” said Therien.