Drivers reminded to put cellphones away
January 30, 2012
The RCMP, Regina Police Service and SGI are reminding motorists of the risks involved with using cellphones to talk or text while driving.
In recent months, cellphone use has been identified as a possible cause in two fatal collisions in the province, according to RCMP.
"We've seen a disturbing trend over recent years regarding the use of hand-held devices while driving,” said Insp. Andy Landers, O i/c "F" Division Traffic Services, RCMP. “Driving a vehicle demands your complete attention and if you're not fully committed to that task you’re putting yourself and others at a serious risk."
A recent SGI survey conducted in September of 2011 found that 94 per cent of respondents considered talking or texting while driving a major problem in Saskatchewan. In fact, distracted driving outranked even impaired driving as the number one road safety concern in the province.
“Despite public perception of distracted driving as a key traffic safety concern, it remains the number one contributing factor in all collisions in Saskatchewan,” said Kwei Quaye, Assistant Vice President of Traffic Safety Services at SGI. “A quarter of all crashes in the province can be linked to driver distraction, so there is obviously a disconnect between people’s thoughts and their actions and this needs to change.”
In 2010, there were nearly 8,500 collisions involving distracted driving in the province, resulting in 60 deaths and more than 2,300 injuries.
“Since the law came into effect regarding cellphone usage and driving, Police Services have been diligently enforcing this law,” said Chief Troy Hagen, Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police. “ While there have been some changes in cellphone behavior there remains a significant number of drivers using these devices illegally. Driving and using a cellphone is dangerous and serious motor vehicle collisions can occur as a result. Please ensure you are driving in a safe, lawful and responsible manner for everyone's benefit.”
At any time on the road, motorists may have to act decisively to avoid a vehicle, cyclist, animal or child and the driver’s ability to make these quick decisions is dependent upon being focused on the task at hand - driving an automobile. To illustrate, if you are travelling 100 km/hr you are travelling 27.77 metres/second. In four seconds you will travel 111 metres (roughly the size of a football field). Reaction time to avoid an object on the highway is 1.5 seconds or 41.65 metres. Now consider the following question: How long does it take you to write the average text message?
Legislation banning the use of cellphones while driving took effect Jan. 1, 2010. The law prohibits all drivers from using hand-held cellphones to talk, text, email, or surf the internet while operating a motor vehicle. Experienced drivers are permitted to use hands-free devices, but new drivers (those in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program) are not. The fine for violating the law is $280 and four demerit points under SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition program.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province's self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of over 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link under Online Services on your motor licence issuer's website or SGI's website.
Manager of Media Relations
Saskatchewan Government Insurance
Sgt. Paul Dawson
"F" Division Media Relations
Manager, Public Information
Regina Police Service