Seriously, Drivers, Put Down The Cellphones!

Regina, SK (Apr. 24, 2017) – Since monthly traffic safety spotlights began in 2014, last month saw the most tickets yet for distracted driving. A total of 523 tickets were issued; 82 for driving without due care and attention and 441 for driving while using, holding, viewing or manipulating a hand-held cellphone.

Throughout March, police were also watching for drivers speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and not being properly restrained with seatbelts or not having their child passengers in the appropriate child safety seat. Violations for these offences are also disappointing as they’ve increased each month in 2017:(1)

  • 4,532 speeding/aggressive driving violations;
  • 318 impaired driving infractions;
  • 453 seatbelts/child safety seats violations.

Based on 2015 data, distracted driving was the leading factor in motor vehicle collisions in Saskatchewan and in second place for fatal collisions, behind impaired driving. More people were charged for distracted driving last month than impaired driving.

Distracted driving laws were strengthened in January, from ‘using’ a hand-held cellphone to ‘using, viewing, holding or manipulating’ one. Learner and novice drivers are not allowed to use a cellphone of any kind, not even hands-free. Experienced drivers can use hands-free phones if they are activated with voice commands or one-touch, and are dashboard, visor or cradle mounted.

Although SGI strongly recommends pulling over to use your phone, we understand that some experienced drivers need to use it on-the-go. If that’s the case, invest in a hands-free device. They’re easy to find and quite inexpensive – it’ll pay for itself considering the fine for breaking the cellphone law is $280. On your second offence in one year, your vehicle is also impounded for seven days.

Law enforcement continue to focus on pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle safety throughout April. Please remember to share the road with these vulnerable road-users and #LookOut for people walking and riding.