Unsafe driving behaviour takes a dive under new legislation

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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The number of impaired drivers on Saskatchewan roads dropped drastically since harsher penalties came into legislation on June 27.

 

Province cracks down on unsafe drivers.

Between June 27 to July 15 in 2013 and this same timeframe in 2014, the number of drivers penalized for being over the legal limit dropped by 30.4 per cent.

Of these, the number of new drivers with alcohol in their systems (they’re supposed to have a blood alcohol level of zero) remained relatively unchanged at 28 to last year’s 27.

The number of experienced drivers between .04 and .08 dropped from 113 to 64, and the number of new and experienced drivers over .08 dropped from 258 to 179.

“In reality, there could be a number of different factors, but what we would like to attribute that to is the fact that we’ve had a very comprehensive awareness campaign, advertising across the province,” SGI media relations manager Kelley Brinkworth said.

“We hope that means people are aware of these new laws, so they are making some smarter choices.”

The legislation provides police with the ability to impose greater financial penalties and impose longer vehicle impoundments for a variety of dangerous driving behaviours.

It provides police with more tools for their toolbox, Prince Albert Carlton MLA Darryl Hickie summarized.

Hickie chaired last summer’s non-partisan all-party Traffic Safety Committee, which toured the province to gather ideas as to how provincial legislation can make streets safer in Saskatchewan.

With the various legislative changes that came into effect on June 27, the provincial government has since adopted every single one of the committee’s recommendations, Hickie noted.

We hope that means people are aware of these new laws, so they are making some smarter choices. Kelley Brinkworth

The Prince Albert Carlton MLA looks on the numbers SGI released on Thursday with pride.

“From my time as an MLA I’m going to look back and look at this work I did as chair of this committee as one of my legacy pieces that I’m going to be very, very proud of,” he said.

Police across the province have not been shy at making use of the new legislation, with at least 189 vehicles seized as a result of impaired driving infractions.

An additional 60 vehicles were seized for other infractions, from stunting (one) to exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h (12) and driving an unregistered vehicle (24).

Although the number of dangerous driver has dropped off significantly since June 27, Hickie isn’t contented to dispense with pats on the back quite yet.

“We want to see the fatalities drop significant, and seeing these numbers released today, we see people are still not abiding by the law in some of the most risky or dangerous behaviour on the roads, whether that be speeding or impaired driving,” he said.

“The committee was very hopeful – and we still are -- that public exposure and media releases put out will act as a deterrent to others, to change their behaviour.”

A police officer prior to his 2008 election as Prince Albert Carlton’s MLA, Hickie plans on returning to the Prince Albert Police Service after the next provincial election.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Traffic Safety Committee

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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