Perhaps more than any other holiday, the August long weekend is a time for people to kick back and relax, that is unless you are an on-duty member of the RCMP.
Yorkton municipal police officers were busy on the weekend responding to 54 calls for service. They arrested 14 people, made one charge of impaired driving and issued multiple traffic and alcohol-related tickets.
One driver was caught doing 44 kilometres an hour over the speed limit in Yorkton, a charge that now carries a hefty fine and four demerit points under Saskatchewan’s new traffic safety laws.
The Yorkton rural detachment was also busy, but had nothing of significance to report.
Police were particularly on the lookout for distracted drivers as part of SGI’s traffic safety focus for the month of August.
For two years now, distracted driving, particularly cell phone use is the number one contributing factor to crashes in Saskatchewan having overtaken impaired driving in 2012.
“You hear your cellphone ring or the ping of an incoming text, and it’s tempting to answer,” said Andrew Cartmell, president and CEO of SGI. “Not only is it against the law, but it’s incredibly unsafe, so if you must send a text or take a call, pull over safely to the side of the road before doing so.”
The new laws also target cell phone use making it a $280 fine plus four demerit points. A driver’s vehicle can also be seized for seven days for a second offence. In July three people suffered this fate.
In 2013, there were 5,677 collisions related to distracted driving, resulting in 31 deaths.