As friends and family mourn the loss of the Van de Vorst family, the woman allegedly responsible will be back in court Thursday on charges of impaired driving causing death.
The family of four were killed Sunday when their car was struck by a jeep crossing Highway 11 from Wanuskewin Road.
The incident reignited public outrage over cases of drunk driving.
Premier Brad Wall offered his condolences in the tragedy on Tuesday as he spoke to reporters.
“It’s just an unspeakable tragedy and loss,” he told reporters.
“I think as soon as Saskatchewan people hear about or read the news they’re automatically considering their own circumstance and their own family.”
Wall said anytime there’s a fatal crash a review is launched by the Ministry of Highways to see if any improvements can be made safety-wise at the scene of an incident.
“We just can’t stress enough the importance of safety and the importance of enforcement with respect to things like driving under impairment,” he said. “You could have the quote-on-quote safest intersection in the province be the site of death and loss if someone’s driving drunk.”
Saskatchewan is notorious for drunk driving deaths, statistically among the worst offenders throughout the entire country, and the premier isn’t exactly sure why that is.
Impaired Driving in Saskatchewan
- Saskatchewan had 1,272 drinking and driving crashes in 2013 that resulted in 39 deaths and 584 injuries.
- Crashes involving alcohol (whether the drinker was driving a car or bike or walking) made up 4.1 per cent of all collisions that year, the lowest percentage in 20 years, and 32.2 per cent of all fatal collisions.
- The average number of drinking and driving crashes between 2004 and the end of 2013 was 1,334, while the average number of deaths was 54.
- Of all the people charged with impaired driving in 2013, 4,251 were convicted. In 2014, 4,001 people were convicted and at least 4,089 people were convicted last year. Convictions include anyone who was charged with impaired driving whether because they crashed, were pulled over by police or were caught at a check stop.
- People between the ages of 18 and 33 who drank and got behind the wheel made up the vast majority of drinking-related crashes in 2013. Twenty-one-year-olds were the highest age group with 76 crashes.
- October is the month with the highest average number of alcohol-related collisions while January is the lowest.
- June is, on average, the most deadly month for collisions involving alcohol.
- Following the Saskatchewan government’s adoption of new driving laws, including stricter impaired driving laws, in June 2014, SGI’s preliminary results reported 19 per cent fewer deaths and 18 per cent fewer injuries in the first year. However it’s unclear if the one-year decline was a direct result of the new laws.
All statistics provided by SGI.