Laws surrounding distracted driving have tightened up substantially in Canada over the past few years. With penalties costing hundreds of dollars, the incentive to keep your eyes on the road while driving is higher than ever. Though, Saskatchewan law enforcement is finding that the number of distracted drivers behind the wheel is still way too high. In response, Saskatchewan distracted driving fines are set to increase by more than double in February 2020.
It doesn't end with the ticket, either. There are a number of other penalties that will come along with it.
Come February, distracted drivers in Saskatchewan will be issued massive tickets and given demerit points, Global News reports. They could even have their cars impounded with the towing and impound fees coming out of their wallets.
The price tag for a first-time offence is $580 and four demerit points. A second offence will cost $1,400, more demerit points, and a seven-day vehicle seizure starting right then and there. As for a third offence, drivers will be getting a massive fine at the cost of $2,100.
As of now, first-time offences in Saskatchewan result in a fine of $280. That fine will be increased significantly, sitting at $300 higher than the current penalty.
Minister Responsible for SGI, Joe Hargrave, told CKOM News that Saskatchewan police handed out 1,000 tickets for distracted driving last month alone. In fact, 50 tickets were issued in Regina in just one day last month.
On October 6, Mike Hawkey Seel with the Regina Police Service Traffic Safety Unit tweeted, “Just stopped my 4th person of the shift who was watching a video on their phone while driving. One was the rider game, all others were YouTube. All issued $280 fines.”
So, it turns out it’s not just texting that’s distracting drivers in Saskatchewan, it’s also football.
Just stopped my 4th person of the shift who was watching a video on their phone while driving. One was the rider ga… https://t.co/JVchexQPY5— Cst. Jim Monaghan 647 (@Cst. Jim Monaghan 647)1570344639.0
"Distracted driving is the leading cause of non-criminal death on our roads," Seel explained.
A news release about the increased fines by the SGI says, "In 2018, it was a factor in more than 6,000 collisions, 774 injuries and 22 deaths."
Though there are a number of things that are considered distracted driving, including reading, putting on makeup, and using GPS systems, "The vast majority of tickets issued are to drivers caught using their phones behind the wheel," said the news release.
Ontario has also implemented stricter punishments for being distracted behind the wheel recently.
According to Joe Hargrave, it's best to keep your phone out of reach to avoid using it while driving.