Changes to Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s (SGI) Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program, which rewards the safest drivers with the biggest discounts and imposes stiffer consequences for high-risk drivers, take effect on Oct. 12.
The program was implemented in 2002 to reward safe drivers and encourage risky drivers to change their behaviour. SGI began reviewing the program in 2012, seeking feedback from customers, stakeholders and employees and the provincial government approved recommendations for both bigger discounts and tougher penalties late last year, the insurer said in a press release on Tuesday.
Drivers start in a neutral position on the SDR program’s Safety Rating Scale and gain points for a good driving record, moving them into the scale’s Safety Zone, SGI explained in a backgrounder. Each point in the Safety Zone gives the driver a discount off their vehicle plate insurance, to a maximum of 25%. Drivers lose points for certain driving incidents, such as an at-fault collision or a traffic conviction, which moves them into the Penalty Zone.
Prior to Oct. 12, the financial penalty is $25 for each point the driver loses in the Penalty Zone (capped at a maximum penalty of $500). On or after Oct. 12, the financial penalty is $50 for each point (capped at a maximum penalty of $1,000). However, some Criminal Code of Canada convictions can result in penalties up to $2,500.
One significant change to the program is harsher penalties for speeding convictions, SGI said in the release. Drivers will lose two points for less severe speeding infractions, excluding photo speed enforcement tickets. For example, if a driver is at +5 on the Safety Rating Scale and is charged with speed 20 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, currently the driver’s safety rating would not be impacted by the ticket unless they were going at least 35 km/h over the limit or charged with speeding in a high-risk zone such as a school or construction zone. But when the changes are implemented, the driver will lose two points for the offence and move from +5 (10% discount) to +3 (6%) discount on the Safety Rating Scale, resulting in a 4% loss of discount.
“Speeding increases your risk of being in a collision,” said Andrew Cartmell, president and CEO of SGI, in the release. “We see this play out time and time again in Saskatchewan. Tougher consequences under the SDR program should help ensure speeders get the message to slow down.”
SGI reported that in 2014, 30 people were killed and 872 injured in 1,954 speed-related collisions in Saskatchewan.
Other details of the new SDR program include:
The Safety Rating Scale will grow by one point a year for the next five years, from +20 to +25. As the scale grows, drivers with the safest records will earn higher discounts on their vehicle insurance, reaching 25% when the scale reaches its maximum in 2020 (from the current 20%);
The at-fault collision threshold will increase from $305 to $700. If a driver is found responsible for an at-fault collision where the Auto Fund pays out less than $700, it will result in a loss of four points, while at-fault collisions where the Auto Fund pays out $700 or more will result in a loss of six points;
Drivers responsible for collisions will lose points based on the seriousness of the collision, four points for claim payouts under $700 and six points for claim payouts of $700 or more;
Customers that win their SDR appeal or pay back their claim for a collision that occurs on or after Oct. 12, for which they also received traffic conviction(s), will get their points back for the collision but will lose the points for the conviction(s) and receive the applicable discount or surcharge related to the conviction(s); and
The non-driver medical discount will be the same percentage amount as the maximum discount available for that year and will be capped at 25% (i.e. in 2016, the medical discount will be 21% when the change goes into effect. On Jan. 1, 2017, it will become 22%, until it reaches 25% on Jan. 1, 2020.