In the eyes of SGI and RCMP across Saskatchewan, there were far too many people in the province who 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 traffic enforcement throughout the holiday season.
December marked the third consecutive month where SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement focused on impaired driving.
“It’s certainly disappointing. 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,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice President of the Auto Fund. “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. Let’s make sure everyone gets home safe.”
In total, there were 353 offences related to impaired driving (compared to 308 last December). Ten 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 would have also had their vehicle seized for those three days.
There were 343 Criminal Code 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. Once convicted, they’ll have a criminal record which could make employment and traveling a challenge.
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.
“If you know you’re going to be drinking — plan a safe ride ahead of time. It’s that simple. Because once you’ve been drinking, your judgment can be impaired and you may make the bad decision to get behind the wheel,” said Cameron. “So take that temptation away, right from the start. Don’t even take a vehicle if you’re going to drink. Make plans to get there and back safe and sober.”
Aside from SGI’s traffic violation numbers, the Outlook RCMP issued their own ticket info compiling statistics from October 1 to December 31 of last year.
During that time period, which equates to 92 days, the Outlook & Elbow RCMP issued 78 tickets and charged three drivers criminally. The data breaks down as:
- 22 counts of exceeding the posted speed limit
- 17 counts of exceeding the limit by greater than 35 km/hr
- 3 counts of exceeding the limit by greater than 50 km/hr
- 3 counts of disobeying a stop sign
- 3 counts of driving without due care and attention
- 0 counts of driver failing to wear a seat belt
- 7 counts of driving while disqualified/suspended/unregistered vehicle
- 4 counts of alcohol in a motor vehicle
- 5 counts of stunting
- 2 counts of vehicle equipment regulations
- 3 counts of other provincial driving charges
The criminal offences include three counts of impaired driving, one count of dangerous driving, and one count of flight from police.