January 23, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) reported on Monday that there were 353 offences related to impaired driving in the province in December, compared to 308 in December 2015.
“Too many people still made the poor decision to drive after drinking in December, despite numerous transportation options offered by SGI and its safety partners, as well as extra enforcement throughout the holiday season,” the province’s self-sustaining and compulsory auto insurance program said in a press release, adding that December marked the third consecutive month where SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement focused on impaired driving.
“It’s certainly disappointing,” said Earl Cameron, executive vice president of SGI’s Auto Fund, in the release. “After extensive coverage in the media about safe ride options, increased enforcement and the tougher impaired driving laws that would be coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, people are still choosing to drive when they shouldn’t. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to report zero impaired driving charges next month? And it’s possible – by making smart choices, and planning ahead,” he said.
In total, there were 353 offences related to impaired driving in December, SGI said, adding that 10 people were charged with having a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .04-.08. They received a three-day licence suspension, four demerit points on their driving record and must complete a Driving Without Impairment (DWI) course. Under tougher laws that came into effect Jan. 1, those drivers also had their vehicle seized for those three days.
SGI said in the release that there were 343 Criminal Code of Canada charges laid for driving while legally impaired or refusing to give a breath test when demanded by police. Upon conviction, those drivers will lose their licence for a year, pay penalties up to $17,750, and lose up to 20 points on their driving record. They also have to attend the three-day DWI program and have ignition interlock installed in their vehicle for at least one year after they get their licence back. This will cost them each thousands of dollars on top of legal fees, the release said, adding that once convicted, these drivers will have a criminal record, which could make employment and traveling a challenge.
“If you know you’re going to be drinking – plan a safe ride ahead of time. It’s that simple,” Cameron said.
While impaired driving was the focus last month, law enforcement were still looking out for other dangerous traffic offences. The following tickets were also issued in December: 2,894 speeding violations; 282 distracted driving offences (144 of those were for cellphone use); and 167 tickets for inappropriate or no seatbelt/child safety seat.