2020 is on track to be the worst year in a decade for serious injury claims to Manitoba Public Insurance.

According to MPI, serious/ catastrophic injury claims have doubled so far this year. By the end of July, a total of 18 such claims had been opened with MPI. Those are claims for things like quadriplegic, paraplegic and brain injuries. In July alone, there were nine of these claims. By comparison, there were nine of these claims through July in 2018 and eight through the same period in 2019.

The trend for serious crashes is not new for 2020. In fact, if this ends up being the worst year in a decade, it will be back-to-back years that Manitoba drivers set that mark. In 2019, there were 23 serious/ catastrophic claims, which is three more than our provincial average.

"While we've experienced a decrease of nearly 22,000 collision claims during the period of January to July 2020, compared to the same time frame in 2019, unfortunately serious injury counts are dramatically higher," says Satvir Jatana, Vice President, Employee and Community Engagement with Manitoba Public Insurance.

Jatana says these types of injuries typically result in very long hospitalization and recovery time for those affected.

"The injuries are devastating, often resulting in total or partial paralysis, amputation, serious brain injury or life-changing trauma," says Jatana. "In some cases, the injured person may require care twenty-four hours a day."

According to MPI, traffic volumes still remain relatively low due to the pandemic, however, many drivers have dramatically increased their speeds. The majority of serious/catastrophic injuries take place on rural roadways where speed limits are typically higher, increasing the severity of the crash.

Recently, MPI reported a 60 per cent increase in speed-related Serious Driving Offences forwarded to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles from April to June. As per the Drivers and Vehicles Act, speed infractions (50 km/h or more over the limit) are one of several offences that must be reported to the Registrar. After receiving the Serious Offense Notice roadside, drivers are given five business days to contact MPI to schedule a Show Cause Hearing.