Winnipeg Victims Among Huge Death Toll No One Talks About
Winnipeg, Manitoba – While worry about terrorism and violence is a natural concern, there is another killer which gets nowhere near the same attention.
Traffic fatalities take a huge toll and yet crime and terror get the bulk of the attention. I hesitate to throw out too many numbers but traffic fatalities in Manitoba are over 100 this year with thousands of injuries. Murder numbers are far less. And yet it’s fair to say, many of us worry about crime and drive everyday without thinking of the consequences of our driving patterns. Crime stories get huge media attention but there are tens of thousands of minor and major collisions every year in Manitoba. The personal cost is unfathomable and the financial toll is huge.
I can take this to a global level as well. Did you know, well over a million people die every year in traffic fatalities? That’s a staggering number and is an ongoing annual toll. And yet terrorism and war get huge coverage but the million deaths on the road get comparatively little mention. Many of those deaths can be attributed to 2nd or 3rd world countries and poor infrastructure and negligible traffic enforcement. However, the United States records an annual toll of 35 thousand dead drivers and passengers annually and those numbers are climbing. Injuries, from minor to life changing, are in the hundreds of thousands.
I find is fascinating that while wars and global terrorism are so hard to stop, traffic fatalities could be vastly reduced. Driving fatalities are not accidents. They are the result of a driver or drivers making a poor choice. Experts have told me repeatedly that the vast majority of fatal collisions are preventable. The answer of course is better drivers, smarter enforcement and better infrastructure. Somehow drivers have to be persuaded into being far less stupid. It is also one of those dilemmas where individuals have to prioritize their driving and make it a primary and not a background activity.
As we start a new year, I hope many drivers give driving and its consequences more priority in their life. If that attitude becomes pervasive, a lot of lives could be saved.
Brian Barkley, MyToba