Will you be home for Christmas? Can family count on you?
Impaired driving is the traffic safety focus for December
Dec. 1, 2016
As the holiday season nears, impaired driving will continue to be top of mind for SGI and law enforcement throughout Saskatchewan in December. It should be top of mind for Saskatchewan residents as well.
Police will be targeting impaired drivers with stop checks and strategic enforcement. They'll be looking for any sign of impaired driving including erratic or aggressive driving, weaving in and out of traffic, driving too fast or too slow, driving without lights at night, tailgating, delayed response time to hazards or traffic signals and driving on the wrong side of the street. Drivers are encouraged to pull over and call 911 if they see a driver they suspect is impaired.
"The holidays are a time for family get-togethers and festivities with friends," said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. "To quote a popular holiday song, 'I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me' - you really do owe it to yourself, your family, your friends and everyone else on the road to drive sober and safe."
Last year over the holiday season, seven people died and 33 more were injured in 119 impaired driving-related crashes in Saskatchewan1.
On top of the life-shattering consequences, impaired drivers could face licence suspensions, vehicle seizures, education programs and mandatory ignition interlock.
Currently, there is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol for new drivers and all drivers under 19, and penalties for experienced drivers start at a blood alcohol content of .04. A conviction could cost up to $8,770, plus legal fees. Consequences are even steeper starting Jan. 1. Changes include a three-day vehicle seizure for experienced drivers charged with having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .04, strengthened ignition interlock laws and zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol to drivers 21 and under.
"Alcohol-related driving deaths and injuries shatter families," said Cameron. "Fines, jail time and loss of licence resulting from impaired driving can also cause significant financial stress. How will your family be affected if you're injured in a crash, end up in jail, lose your job or cannot pay the bills?"
Get home safely this holiday season with these tips:
- Arrange a limo, party bus or shuttle for larger groups
- Give taxi vouchers or safe ride rebates to employees attending office parties
- Get you and your vehicle home safe with Operation Red Nose or a designated driving service
- Volunteer one of your free nights to drive friends and family to their parties
- Incentivise your teen driver to drive you to and from your holiday party, ensuring they follow all GDL restrictions outlined on their licence.
- Book a hotel room at or near the event and spend the night.
You can also help family and friends get home safely by offering to be the designated driver, calling them a safe ride, or letting them stay the night.
"Promise you'll be home for Christmas," said Cameron. "Your loved ones are counting on you."
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 nearly 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.