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Road deaths spiked compared to last year over Labour Day long weekend

Last Updated Sep 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm MDT

RCMP are urging drivers to slow down, put cell phones away, and pay attention after new numbers reveal that more than four times as many people died on the province’s roads this past long weekend compared to last year.

During the 2016 Labour Day long weekend, two people died in car accidents, but this year nine people died, including one motorcyclist.

RCMP say there is no single cause for the jump, though speeding, distracted driving, and increased volume were likely factors.

“We had fantastic weather on this Labour Day weekend, and so that meant that traffic volume was most likely increased,” said Cpl. Laurel Scott.

Scott says the Labour Day long weekend can be extra dangerous because people are eager to enjoy the last days of summer holidays and that can make them less careful.

“We know that everybody wants to have fun, so drivers may be inclined to be more focused on where they’re going and starting their fun.”

There is some good news though, as injuries were down from 55 to 22.

Impaired driving charges also appear to be down from 90 to 46 this year, though there are still 27 investigations ongoing, so that number may increase.

Scott says now that the long weekend has passed, it’s especially important to be extra careful.

“Of course, following the Labour Day weekend is school,” she says. “We’re asking motorists to be mindful of their speeds in school zones, watch out for the increased number of pedestrians and buses. And watch out for those little students going back to school.”