The province has seen a stunning amount of impaired drivers, specifically those who are new drivers or under the age of 22.

There is zero tolerance for even the smallest amount of cannabis or alcohol for all new drivers, and in 2023 487 new drivers received administrative roadside suspensions for alcohol and around 600 for drug-related suspensions.

Tyler McMurchy, SGI spokesperson, reminds southwest drivers of the rules and encourages them not to take the risk.

“New drivers make up about 9% of the drivers on Sask. roads, but 33% of the roadside suspensions for violating drugs or alcohol limits at the provincial level,” said McMurchy.

From April to December 2023 there were about 30 drivers in Swift Current charged with impaired driving, of which approximately 10 would’ve been new drivers. 

“The idea is not to harsh anyone’s good time or keep people from having fun,” he added. “It’s just to make sure that people stay safe and safely stay out of trouble, so we want people to understand what the rules are and what the consequences are.”

New drivers have their license suspended immediately at the roadside, with suspensions of 60 days for the first offence, 120 days for a second offence within 10 years, and 18 months for the third and up.

A first offence for a new driver will include suspension, the Driving Without Impairment program, 4 demerit points, and a 3-day vehicle impoundment that the registered owner will pay.

“You’re also going to lose the vehicle you’ve been driving, even if it’s your mom’s car,” noted McMurchy.

Additional penalties can include longer vehicle impoundment, fines, and the Driver Improvement Training program or the Alcohol and Drug Education program if it’s the second or third offence.

“Always find a safe way home, and the good news is you’ve always got options,” he concluded. “The only option you don’t have is getting behind the wheel when you’ve been using drugs or alcohol.”