Reporting impaired drivers was the April Traffic Safety Spotlight over at the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
Almost 400 drivers were caught impaired on Saskatchewan roadways last month, a number that the insurance company’s Spokesperson, Tyler McMurchy, said isn’t that unusual.
“We have seen a bit of an increase over the last few years in the number of those administrative roadside suspensions that you get from violating the provincial limits,” he said.
Just during April, police detailed that 179 people were issued Criminal Code charges, and 195 were given administrative roadside license suspensions.
Experienced drivers that exceed .04 blood alcohol content but haven’t breached .08 as a first-time offence, would get a three-day vehicle impoundment, three-day license suspension, and be required to finish a weekend impaired driving course as well as demerits.
McMurchy said there are similar consequences for violating the 0 tolerance for drug impaired driving.
“Now the police have greater access to roadside oral fluid testers, we are seeing more drivers typically testing positive for cannabis,” he added. “That's what we're hearing from police. It's a number that's on the rise. We just want to remind drivers that of course cannabis is legal now, and we're not saying you can't do it—what we are saying is just be mindful of the fact that you don't want to have that detectable by these roadside oral fluid testers. Depending on the level of impairment that the police officer is seeing, they may decide that they want to further investigate, and that could lead to criminal charges.”
A blood alcohol content exceeding .08 is also serious, leading to an immediate roadside suspension and criminal charges for new and experienced drivers alike.
“The consequences are pretty severe,” McMurchy said about driving impaired. “We're approaching summer, the weather has started to get nice finally after what seemed like the longest winter ever, people are going to be heading to the lake, they're going to be spending time with friends, socializing in a number of ways. We don't want anybody to wreck their good times and wreck the memories of those good times by having an impaired driving collision or impaired driving charge as part of those memories. We want everybody to have a great, safe summer. I'm not saying you can't go out, enjoy yourself, have a few drinks or meet some buds at 4:20, but just make sure that you always have a plan for a safe ride home.”
Some other numbers reported by police during the month of April include more than 400 tickets for seatbelt and occupant restraint offences, just under 5,000 tickets for speeding and aggressive driving offences, and over 700 tickets for distracted driving, most of which were for cellphone use.
"Most fatal collisions in Saskatchewan involved at least one of the following four factors: somebody who is impaired, somebody who was distracted, somebody who was speeding, or somebody who wasn't wearing their seat belt. So, if you eliminate all of those factors, you eliminate a lot of opportunities for you to be involved in a collision in which you can be injured or worse.”