Manitoba on the path to break record of road fatalities in a year: RCMP

WINNIPEG —;  There have been 105 road fatalities this year on Manitoba roads, the second highest number of deaths in ten years. RCMP say they are on track to reach a new tragic record.

“Our unit feels pretty frustrated,” said Cpl. Carrie Kennedy of the RCMP.

“We feel like we are putting our best foot forward and we aren’t able to prevent those deaths.”

Kennedy says the number of roadway fatalities has risen this year compared to last year, and many of them are due to drunk driving.

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Of the 105 deaths, 40 per cent are due to impaired drivers. Speeding is the leading cause at 47 per cent.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has been busy supporting grieving families and trying to spread their message about the dangers of drinking and driving.

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“That is a statistic that is climbing, particularly young females getting into vehicles with people who have been drinking,” said Melody Bodnarchuk of MADD Winnipeg.

Bodnarchuk put the numbers into perspective.

“To me, if this was something like a virus, Manitobans would be in a panic, that every three and a half days, somebody in Manitoba is dying,” she said.

In an effort to reduce drinking and driving over the holidays, Manitoba RCMP announced the kickoff of their 2016 Holiday Checkstop program. The checkstop campaign begins on Dec. 2 and runs until Jan. 2.

RELATED: Winnipeg Police arrest 56 drivers during holiday checkstops

The RCMP has written more than 40,000 tickets in 2016—6,000 more than last year. But the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.

“The truth is, if behaviours don’t change, an estimated 10 people will die on our roads during the holidays,” said Scott Kolody with Manitoba RCMP. “And in the past decade, there has not been a single year when someone has not died.”

In addition to driving sober, the RCMP is encouraging drivers to buckle up, avoid using their phone, and to drive for the conditions.

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