The Sûreté du Québec says human life remains at the center of its new road safety plan.
Unveiled on Thursday the provincial police force announced its revamped strategy for the 2021-2026 period.
Titled under the acronym PISTE the new orientation aims to improve road safety with a five-pronged approach: partnership, intervention sensibility, technology and evaluation.
Chief Paul Leduc says while the name of the strategy may be different the goal remains the same – to reduce the number of deaths and near-fatal collisions on and off the road and on the waterways.
This change won’t be noticeable by the everyday ‘safe driver’ Leduc says.
“The person who follows the speed limit, won’t see a difference,” Leduc said. “But those who don’t respect the rules of the road – our presence will be felt.”
While deaths have been on the decline for the past decade, the SQ has hit a plateau when it comes to reducing the troubling statistics according to provincial officials.
“We have come a long way,” Leduc said.
Leduc says Quebec’s recorded road death figures are some of the lowest in the country with 223 deaths in 2021, a slight increase of one compared to the same time last year.
Quebec road accidents on the decline over the last decade: SQ report
All the while, more and more drivers are on Quebec roads.
Off-roading vehicles like ATVs and snowmobiles are a new heightened focus in the new PISTE approach.
Since the pandemic, the force says they have seen an increase in accidents, with 232 this year so far, five more than last year and 18 more compared to 2019.
Leduc says this new strategy is all-encompassing and global.
As an example, when it comes to drinking and driving stings, instead of having two separate operations underway on the road and on the trails, now the Surete du Quebec will deploy them in tandem.
The strategy was heavily inspired Leduc says by Montreal’s Vision Zero safety plan launched in 2019.
“Vision Zero is not a slogan it’s an aspiration and an objective,” Leduc said.
The SQ says the new road safety strategy aims at working in tandem with the Quebec Transport Ministry, the Automobile Insurance board and local police forces.
“We cant work in silos anymore,” Leduc said.
The Sûreté du Québec says it plans to implement the new strategy by increasing focused interventions targeting the leading causes of deaths on Quebec roads.
Speeding, distraction and driving under the influence continue to be the most deadly causes of accidents.
Quebec sees more deaths on the roads in 2020: SQ annual report
Provincial police say the media will play a role in helping get the message across to drivers as well as other means of technology, reinforcing the rules of the road and making them known with an increase of awareness and prevention campaigns.
“Our slogan is ‘The human life is at the heart of our actions’,” Leduc said.
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