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Alarming number of deaths on Newfoundland and Labrador highways this year: RCMP

New highway signs have been placed around the province by the provincial government that indicate the number of fatalities on the roads for the current year. The RCMP hopes the numbers shown on the signs will resonate with the public.
New highway signs have been placed around the province by the provincial government that indicate the number of fatalities on the roads for the current year. The RCMP hopes the numbers shown on the signs will resonate with the public. - Contributed
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Since January, 24 people have died in 18 vehicle collisions in RCMP areas of responsibility in the province, the police force announced Monday.

The RCMP says the tragic loss of life is compounded by the fact that many of the deaths could have been prevented. 

Staff Sgt. David Ossinger, head of RCMP NL traffic services, is appealing to motorists to realize the life-changing consequences of their decisions when behind the wheel.

“A number of the deaths caused by vehicle collisions were, without a doubt, preventable,” Ossinger said. “Of the 24 people who died, 13 were not wearing seatbelts.

“Five of the drivers involved in fatal collisions this year were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, four of whom died. 

“As well, 50 per cent of the fatal collisions we responded to involved vehicles crossing the centre line into the path of an oncoming vehicle, which could signal impaired driving, distracted driving or both.”

RCMP NL works with multiple partners focused on improving road safety, including the Department of Transportation and Works. 

Recently, new highway signs were erected by the Department in the eastern, central and western regions of the province. The signs indicate the number of fatalities on the roads of the province for the current year. The RCMP welcomes the signage and hopes the numbers will resonate with the public.

“We believe the public needs to be startled by the extent of the loss of life already experienced on our roadways this year, which will hopefully influence their driving behaviour,” Ossinger said.

“With the Christmas season upon us, there will be an increased presence of traffic on the highways, with many people travelling to shop and visit friends and family. We want to ensure that the loved ones waiting for you don’t instead see a police officer at their door.”

Motorists are urged to buckle up, use caution when driving, not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs, follow the rules of the road and adjust driving speeds to current weather and road conditions. 

RCMP NL remains committed to road safety and will continue to target aggressive and impaired drivers, and seatbelt compliance, police stated.

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