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We can expect to see more RCMP patrols on Manitoba highways over the next three days as people enjoy the May long weekend. Inspector Ed Moreland says they will focus on the main behaviours that lead to motor vehicle incidents and injuries.

"Impaired driving is the single biggest killer. We couple that with people who are driving way too fast on the roads. We also add in people that are not belted. If you get ejected from a vehicle, statistics say that 75% of the people are going to die. I think that's not unreasonable for people to imagine, given the speeds that cars travel these days. We want to make sure everybody is driving the speed limit, make sure you're buckled in and make sure you don't have any drugs or alcohol in your system."

RCMP report impaired driving was a factor in 41% of fatal collision in Manitoba in the last five years. That means that approximately 230 deaths could have been completely prevented by people choosing not to drive impaired. The majority of alcohol-related crashes occur during the summer months. More than 80% of alcohol-related crashes are single-vehicle collisions, and the majority involve male drivers. The RCMP charges more than 1500 people in Manitoba each year with Impaired Driving under the Criminal Code. Excess speed or driving too fast for road conditions was a factor in 51% of fatal crashes in the last five years. Distracted driving is another leading cause of fatalities on Manitoba roadways.

Moreland says the stepped up patrols this weekend are intended as a reminder to all drivers to keep safety as their top priority.

"It's for the good of everybody, it's for the good of society. Our goal is to have the safest roads in Canada. You're going to see us out and about and we just want to make sure that whatever you're doing, do it safely because we want you to enjoy your weekend."

He adds officers don't want to have to knock on someone's door in the middle of the night to deliver bad news about a family member who has been in an accident.

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