In the first three weeks after Saskatchewan’s new traffic laws took effect 380 motorists had their vehicles seized and 271 lost their driver’s licences.
From June 27 to July 15 police handed out 271 roadside suspensions for impaired driving, 189 vehicle seizures for impaired driving, 131 seizures for unauthorized drivers and 60 dangerous driving seizures.
“It’s disappointing to see so many vehicle seizures and suspensions in such a short time period, but it’s also encouraging to know police have the new laws at their disposal to mitigate the high number of collision-related deaths and injuries in Saskatchewan,” said Andrew Cartmell, President and CEO of SGI. “The combination of these serious consequences and increased dedicated traffic enforcement throughout the province will ultimately lead to increased safety on our roads and highways.”
The new legislation toughened penalties for many high-risk behaviours including impaired driving, distracted driving and excessive speed, which are the top three contributing factors to fatal crashes in the province.
In 2013, SGI’s preliminary data shows that 134 people were killed and 6,804 were injured in vehicle collisions on Saskatchewan roads and highways, which is among the highest fatality and injury rate in the country.
Meanwhile SGI also released the results of its June traffic safety blitz that targeted sealtbelt violations. Police issued a total of 431 citations, 379 for drivers not wearing seatbelts, 32 for passengers (16 and over) and 20 for passengers under 16. They also handed out 1,685 tickets for aggressive driving, 236 for distracted driving (184 of those for cellphone use) and 110 for impaired driving.
SGI car seat technicians also participated in a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) event in Swift Current June 4 and 5 to help ensure and promote child passenger safety. They checked 90 car and booster seats during the check stops and gave away 10 car seats in a “positive enforcement” effort to encourage proper use of child restraints.
Booster seats were also covered in the new traffic legislation. They are now mandatory for children under the age of seven.
“SGI reminds motorists that wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash by 50 per cent,” a press release stated. “Buckle up each and every time you get into a vehicle, and ensure babies and toddlers are restrained in the appropriate car seat and children under age seven are using a booster seat—it’s the law.”