With 2018 in the books, SGI kicks off the new year with impaired driving the focus of January's Traffic Safety Spotlight.
Impaired driving is still the leading cause of death on Saskatchewan roads. In 2017, 39 percent of traffic fatalities in Saskatchewan involved drug and/or alcohol use.
"It's not something just for New Year's Eve, or even the month of January. Its something we want people to keep in mind year round," said Tyler McMurchy, Manager of Media Relations with SGI.
The battle against impaired driving is as relevant as ever with the legalization of cannabis in October, and a host of new federal and provincial laws brought in throughout 2018. Police have the training and tools to determine when someone is driving under the influence, and with the recent changes to the laws around obtaining breath samples, impaired drivers are even more likely to get caught.
"Police have new tools in their toolbox to combat impaired driving. There's zero tolerance for impaired driving and in the new year, you can expect police forces to have those saliva tests for drug-impaired driving as well. If impairment is indicated, they will take the driver back to the station and put them through a drug recognition evaluation. You'll have a specially trained officer put them through a rigorous 12 step evaluation to help determine if that driver is impaired."
The new provincial legislation involves a zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving as well as stronger penalties for impaired drives transporting children. A new federal law also came in effect on December 18th enabling police officers to demand a roadside breath sample from anyone who has been lawfully pulled over.
Driving high comes with the same penalties as alcohol-impaired driving. This includes immediate and indefinite roadside licence suspensions for criminal charges, vehicle seizure up to 60 days, mandatory enrolment in SGI’s Driving Without Impairment education program and substantial financial penalties via the Safe Driver Recognition program.