Government introduces legislation to amend commercial vehicle seizures
Dec. 4, 2014
Commercial vehicle seizure amendments introduced today will strengthen the penalities for drivers while also making it less complicated for business owners to get commercial vehicles released in cases where the vehicle was seized due to the driving behaviour of the employee. Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Don McMorris introduced the amendments to The Traffic Safety Act today in the Legislative Assembly.
“These amendments provide stronger measures to help make our roads and highways safer,” McMorris said.
The amendments will establish a three-day licence suspension for the driver of a commercial vehicle who commits certain high-risk driving offences.
The driver’s licence suspension will apply in addition to the seven-day vehicle seizure for the following offences, when committed by an employee is who not the owner of a commercial vehicle:
- cellphone use while driving (2nd offence within 12 months)
- exceed speed limit by more than 50 km/h (1st offence)
- fail to stop for a peace officer (1st offence)
- exceed speed limit by more than double the speed (2nd offence within 12 months)
- driving without due care or reasonable consideration (3rd and subsequent offence within 12 months)
The legislation is anticipated to be passed during the spring 2015 sitting of the Legislature.
Supporting regulations are also being put in place to provide an appeal process for early release of a commercial vehicle, taxi or farm vehicle in cases where the vehicle was seized due to the driving behaviour of the employee. The following conditions must be met before the vehicle will be released:
- the driver (employee) at the time of the offence is not the owner of the vehicle; and,
- the owner can produce evidence that they have a written and communicated safety plan in place; and,
- the owner had obtained a driver’s abstract within the previous 12 months for their employee.
Regulation changes are expected to take effect early January 2015. The appeal will also trigger a National Safety Code compliance audit for the business.
“We listened to concerns brought forward by businesses and have consulted with numerous stakeholders to reach this decision,” McMorris said. “We believe these changes strike a fair balance between considering the business interests of commercial vehicle owners, and ensuring road safety by continuing to be tough on high-risk drivers.”
These changes will apply only to commercial vehicle seizures due to the driving behaviour of an employee. They will not apply to personal-use vehicles, for example when someone loans their vehicle to a friend or family member. In that situation, the usual grounds for appeal still stand.
To apply for early release of a commercial or personal vehicle, the vehicle owner - be it a business or individual - may purchase an appeal receipt from any motor licence issuer for $100 and call the Highway Traffic Board to book a telephone hearing.
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.