What’s causing fatal crashes on Alberta roads? A reminder ahead of the May long weekend

It may seem like common sense — don’t drink and drive, don’t drive under the influence of drugs, leave the phone alone and wear your seatbelt.

Still, it’s a message not everyone is getting on Alberta roads.

As of April 23, seven people have lost their lives this year in motor vehicle crashes in Calgary, according to the Calgary Police Service. Heading into the May long weekend, it’s a stark reminder to drive safely while heading out wherever you may be going.

“Traffic safety hinges on the decisions drivers make behind the wheel,” acting insp. Steve Ellefson with the Calgary Police Service said in a news release.

“We encourage all drivers to be safe as this has a direct impact on road safety.”

Calgary statistics

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Alberta statistics

Traffic statistics from Alberta Transportation shine a light on the causes behind fatal crashes across the province.

The latest report is from 2016 and it shows that “following too closely, running off the road and making a left turn across the path of an oncoming vehicle were the most frequently identified improper driver actions contributing to casualty collisions.”

The report also found May had the highest number of fatal accidents, Friday was the most collision-prone day of the week and most fatal crashes happened in rural areas.

When it comes to drinking and driving, 16.3 per cent of drivers involved in fatal crashes had consumed alcohol, the statistics show.

But it isn’t just people behind the wheel. When it comes to foot traffic, 34.2 per cent of pedestrians involved in deadly crashes had consumed alcohol prior to the collision.

Last May long weekend, 110 people were charged with impaired driving after being stopped by Alberta RCMP, according to Sgt. Darrin Turnbull.

“We just want you to be safe,” Turnbull said.

“Last year we had the four people who died [over the May long weekend]. We don’t want anyone to die this year.”

WATCH: Alberta drivers continue to be distracted

Alberta RCMP will be out in full force over the long weekend.

Checkstops started outside of Calgary on Thursday night.

“We’ve had a lot of people coming through with mandatory alcohol screening getting breath samples,” Turnbull said.

While marijuana is now legal, there are still rules for how it must be stored in your vehicle.

“When we’re talking cannabis in a motor vehicle, it has to be stored just like alcohol, so alcohol can’t be within reach,” Turnbull explained.

At checkstops, police are looking for anyone under the influence of alcohol and drugs, including cannabis, illegal and prescription drugs.

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