#PracticeUp Saskatchewan: New drivers are the traffic safety spotlight for June
May 31, 2017
SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement will be focusing on new drivers and motorcycle riders throughout June. Police will be watching for new drivers and riders disobeying the restrictions under their respective Graduated Driver’s Licence (GDL) program.
"New drivers and riders have a lot to learn, so we encourage them to know what restrictions apply to them, take advantage of the courses offered and practice as much as possible to become a safe driver," said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. "One of the most important things for new drivers and riders to know is that there is absolutely zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs before driving. As they are still learning to drive, we want new drivers to be one hundred per cent focused on the task at hand."
Between 2011 and 2015, drivers 19 years of age and younger represented seven per cent of Saskatchewan's driving population, yet were involved in 11 per cent of all collisions. Young drivers also represented 10 per cent of drivers killed and 12 per cent of drivers seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision.
Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Take training – New drivers must take one of two training courses before attempting a Class 5 road test. High school students age 15 and up can take an SGI-sponsored program for free through their school division. Alternatively, those 16 and over can pay for a course offered by a certified driving educator.
- Earn your privileges – The GDL program is designed to improve road safety by exposing new drivers of any age to incremental levels of risk as they gain more experience. There are three stages in the program: Learner (9 months), Novice 1 (6 months) and Novice 2 (12 months).
- Know your restrictions – There are requirements for a supervising driver, limits on how many passengers you can have, hours you can drive, and other considerations. These restrictions are loosened as drivers advance through the stages of the GDL program.
- Take training – Motorcycle training is highly recommended and makes financial sense. New riders entering the Motorcycle GDL program who do not pass a certified motorcycle safety course pay a $500 surcharge on their licence as they enter each stage. But if they pass a course, that surcharge is waived – plus, if they graduate incident-free, they receive a $450 rebate, which is roughly the cost of the course.
- Earn your privileges – The Motorcycle GDL program for new motorcyclists has the same Learner, Novice and Novice 2 stages.
- Know your restrictions –There are restrictions when it comes to passengers and time of day when riding is allowed. There are also specific requirements for wearing protective gear and displaying an 'L' or 'N' placard on the licence plate indicating learner or novice rider.
- For both GDL programs, depending on the incident, the result could be a ticket, loss of licence and/or loss of points under the Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program. Generally speaking, the consequences of failing to comply with a licence endorsement/restrictions result in a fine of $150 and three demerits.
- For both GDL programs, there is a zero alcohol/drug tolerance level for new drivers, as well as any driver/rider (new or experienced) age 21 and under. First-time offenders will lose their licence for 60 days, lose four points under SDR and have the vehicle seized and impounded for three days, plus pay for towing, storage, and a DWI course.
- New drivers and riders are not allowed to use any type of cellphone while driving – neither hand-held nor hands-free. The fine is $280 and four demerit points. New drivers/riders caught using their cellphone while driving (distracted driving) for the second time within one year will have the vehicle they are driving seized for seven days.
Rules to live by
- Practice, practice, practice! And practice exactly the way you were taught by your certified instructor.
- If you're going to drink, don't drive. If you're going to drive, don't drink.
- Know and follow all restrictions outlined on your licence.
- Gradually expose yourself to different weather conditions and times of day.
- If you have questions about the road test or the rules of the road, #AskAnExaminer on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Supervising drivers should visit the SGI website and review the latest editions of the Saskatchewan Driver Handbook and read A Guide to Supervising New Drivers. Some things may have changed since they got their licence.