Distracted driving ticket record set in Saskatchewan More people were ticketed for distracted driving than for impaired driving in Saskatchewan during March 2017, according to figures from Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
SGI said 523 tickets were issued for distracted driving – 441 for using, holding, viewing or manipulating a hand-held cellphone and 82 for driving without due care and attention.
Police issued 318 impaired driving infractions during the month.
SGI said the number of distracted driving tickets issued is the highest for a one-month period since they started their traffic safety spotlights in 2014.
Let’s Look at 2015
In 2015, distracted driving was the leading cause of crashes in the province and the second-leading cause of fatal collisions next to impaired driving.
INCREASE in Distracted Driving Tickets
One reason for the increase in distracted driving tickets may be the new laws that came into effect in January.
Drivers are now prohibited from using, holding, viewing or otherwise manipulating cellphones. The law also prohibits novice and learner drivers from using cellphones hands-free.
The penalty for breaking the cellphone law is $280 and four demerit points. A second offence within a one-year period will result in the vehicle being impounded for seven days.
Police also handed out 4,532 tickets for speeding and aggressive driving and 453 seatbelt and child safety seat violation tickets.
Distracted driving is the second leading cause of fatal collisions in Saskatchewan
As David Baxter reports, there’s already been a major year–over-year increase in people being caught using their phones behind the wheel.
Hang up the phone, because police in Saskatchewan have already caught hundreds of distracted drivers this year since new laws were introduced.
Sgt. Colin Glass from the Regina Police Service (RPS) traffic unit
Sgt. Colin Glass from the Regina Police Service (RPS) traffic unit said that the reworded law, which took effect Jan. 1, removed a grey area in distracted driving enforcement.
“If a person is holding their phone, using their phone, our officers are more apt to lay a charge where they’re going to see a conviction,” Glass said.
Glass said there will be another province-wide police focus coming up in October. He added that gradually more people are realizing that behavior will not be tolerated.
“If your cellphone does ring, or you receive a text message, and you get that urge to pick up that phone and look at it, don’t,” Glass said.
“Just simply pull over to the side of the road, do it in a safe driving manner, or pull into a parking lot to check your messages. Because it’s simply not worth it.”
“We realize people will be commuting day in and day out and there’s going to be distractions within the vehicle,” Glass said.
Glass said they aren’t on the lookout for people drinking a coffee while driving, but if a distraction causes is a contributing factor in a collision police may add the additional charge.
He added that a driving without due care and attention charge may be placed if a distraction causes someone to break another driving law, like not stopping at a red light.
What are the Repercussions?
If someone is caught using a cellphone behind the wheel, they will face a $280 ticket and four demerit points on your license. A second offence in a year will include a seven-day vehicle impoundment.