Make sure your Grad Night is memorable for the right reasons
#DriveSober: SGI focusing on impaired driving throughout May
April 28, 2017
As graduation season is quickly approaching, SGI is reminding students to make planning a safe ride home part of their celebrations.
Teen drivers are overrepresented in fatal collisions involving drugs and alcohol. Drivers 19 years of age and younger account for about seven per cent of licensed drivers in Saskatchewan. That same age group comprised 10 per cent of impaired drivers involved in fatal collisions in the province.
In 2015, there were 120 impaired driving collisions in Saskatchewan involving teen drivers, resulting in seven deaths and 73 injuries. Throughout the month, police across the province will be watching for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs and will be enforcing the new, tougher impaired driving laws.
"With grad celebrations happening throughout the province, it's important to remind young people of the consequences of impaired driving," said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. "Being young doesn't mean you're invincible. When you get behind the wheel after consuming drugs or alcohol, you endanger your own life, that of your passengers and that of every other person unfortunate enough to be on the road at the same time."
Impaired driving is the number one contributing factor in fatal collisions in Saskatchewan. In 2015, there were a total of 1,183 alcohol/drug-related collisions, resulting in 54 deaths and 580 injuries.
"Impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable," said Cameron. "There are always alternatives to driving impaired: take a cab or a bus, use a designated driver, call a designated driving service, call a friend or family member, or stay overnight. Be a good wingman and watch out for your friends. Don't let them drive impaired."
Impaired driving laws were strengthened starting January 1. There is zero tolerance for any driver in any Graduated Drivers Licence program or drivers 21 years of age and under. If there is any alcohol or drugs in your system, you can lose your licence for a minimum of 60 days and the vehicle you're driving for a minimum of three days.
While laws are an added deterrent, preventing impaired driving starts with committing to make smart, safe and sober decisions before getting behind the wheel. Some tips for teens:
- Remember, the designated driver doesn't mean the least impaired/most sober person, it means the completely sober person.
- Know the effects of alcohol/drugs on your body. Even after a good night's rest, you can still be impaired the next day.
- Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs (legal or illegal). The combination can have a multiplying effect on impairment.
Parents can follow these tips to help keep their kids safe on grad night:
- Discuss the dangers of drinking and driving with your teen.
- Encourage your teen to call you if they're with an impaired driver, or impaired themselves.