February traffic safety spotlight focuses on distracted driving
February 6, 2014
Police across the province are on the lookout this month for distracted drivers, including drivers using their cellphones to talk or text, and drivers facing other distractions, like eating, applying makeup, using GPS, or reading.
For the past two years, distracted driving has been the number one factor in all fatal crashes in Saskatchewan. To help raise awareness of this serious traffic safety concern, SGI and its safety and law enforcement partners are focusing on distracted driving for the entire month of February.
“It's past time for an attitude shift,” said Andrew Cartmell, President and CEO of SGI. “Distracted driving is causing more crashes than even impaired driving.”
In 2012, there were more than 7,500 collisions related to distracted driving, resulting in 69 deaths and 2,503 injuries.
“In spite of enforcement efforts and significant penalties, people are still making dangerous choices,” said Chief Troy Hagen, President of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police. “Every driver holds the key to success on this issue; every driver, every day, has to make conscious choices to put a cellphone, and other distractions, out of reach while driving.”
There are two laws in Saskatchewan that address driver distraction: cellphone legislation and driving without due care and attention. The fine for violating either law is $280 and four demerit points under SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition program. Depending where you sit on the safety rating scale, you may also have to pay a financial penalty or lose insurance discounts.
“These are just the financial consequences - think about the human impacts. How could you live with yourself if you killed someone in a crash, simply because your text couldn’t wait?” asked Cartmell.
Cellphone legislation prohibits drivers from using hand-held cellphones to talk, text, email, or surf the internet while driving. Experienced drivers can use hands-free devices, but new drivers (those in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program) can not. All other forms of distracted driving are covered under driving without due care and attention legislation.
If you must send a text or take a call, pull over safely to the side of the road before doing so. Your safety, and that of all other road users, depends on it.
January's traffic safety spotlight focused on intersection safety. Law enforcement issued a total of 815 tickets related to intersection violations during the month, including:
- 741 tickets for failing to stop at red lights or stop signs
- 35 tickets for failing to yield to a pedestrian
- 34 tickets for failing to obey amber lights
- 5 other intersection violations
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.