Some 380 people lost their lives on Quebec roads in 2023, a figure down compared to last year which nevertheless remains heavier than before the pandemic. If the picture is less deadly among vulnerable users, it has however deteriorated significantly among the youngest.

This is what we learn in the most recent road report from the Automobile Insurance Company (SAAQ) released this Tuesday. From the outset, the organization reported 380 deaths, compared to 398 in 2022. However, this is still significantly more than in recent years and even before the pandemic. In 2019, there were 333 road deaths recorded, then 340 in 2020 and 347 in 2021. In short, the overall trend remains increasing.

Around 28,060 people were injured last year, compared to 28,543 in 2022. Of these, a large majority of users suffered minor injuries, i.e. 26,790, a figure also down over a period of one year. It’s also less than before COVID-19; in 2019, there were 33,400 minor injuries.

A worrying issue also arises among users aged 15 to 24, who alone account for 59 deaths, a jump of 20.4% compared to 2022, but above all almost 32% compared to the most recent average. years. The increase is also marked among those aged 35-44 and 45-54, with 54 and 46 deaths respectively, jumps of 28% and 11% compared to the average.

Among those aged 75 or over, the number of deaths has decreased by almost 7% over one year, but remains up by almost 10% if we take into account the average since 2018.

Nonetheless, efforts to protect vulnerable users seem to be starting to bear fruit, after the deadliest death toll in 15 years last year. There will be 63 pedestrian deaths in 2023, compared to 82 in 2022, a decrease of 23%. The 2018-2022 average for this category is 66 deaths.

The principle is essentially the same for motorcyclists, for whom there has been a drop of eight deaths with a total of 54 in 2023, or even heavy truck drivers, a category bringing together six deaths, compared to 10 the previous year.

In its report, the SAAQ also welcomes the adoption of Bill 48 which aims to modify the Highway Safety Code. The National Road Safety Strategy, a flagship project of Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault, wants to increase fines for offenses against pedestrians and cyclists, but also reduce speeds in school zones and significantly increase the number of photo radars.

“I am very happy to see that the road safety record is improving in Quebec. […] I am convinced that we have all the tools in hand to increase the safety of all”, Minister Guilbault reacted on Tuesday, however describing the increase in the number of deaths among 15 to 24 year olds as “worrying”. “We will continue our awareness-raising activities among this clientele,” she assured.

“The improvement in the road safety record is proof that awareness, combined with police control and the strengthening of legislation, leads to a change in behavior. It is the sum of actions that makes it possible to reduce the number of victims. We must continue on this path,” said the CEO of the SAAQ, Éric Ducharme, in a statement.