Fewer people died in traffic crashes last year than any other year since 1954, Saskatchewan Government Insurance says.

Last year, there were 102 deaths on Saskatchewan roads. In 2016, there were 125 deaths. The province’s yearly average is 145 deaths over the past 10 years (2007 to 2016).

This is the lowest number of deaths since 1954, when 74 people died on Saskatchewan roads.

“We need to remember that traffic fatality statistics are so much more than numbers; each one was a real person who died needlessly, leaving behind a devastated family and loved ones,” Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for SGI, said in a news release. “It’s terrible that the families of 102 people had to deal with a tragic loss last year. The fact that we saw 23 fewer deaths than the year before is an encouraging sign. The credit for this improvement has to go to every single person in Saskatchewan who has made the choice to drive more safely.”

SGI says traffic deaths are typically the result of impaired driving, distracted driving, speed and not wearing a seatbelt.

The number of traffic deaths changes from year-to-year, but traffic fatalities have been trending downwards after peaking in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Deaths did spike to 183 in 2012, leading to the formation of a special committee on traffic safety. This committee led to recommendations on safety initiatives and new legislation to improve safety on Saskatchewan roads.

“Each of us can contribute to making our roads safer by planning ahead and taking simple actions behind the wheel,” Hargrave said.

Hargrave says he wants the lower numbers in 2017 to be the beginning of a lasting change in traffic safety.