SGI and police focus on impaired drivers in December

sgi_logoImpaired driving is back in the number one spot for traffic-related fatalities in Saskatchewan and police will be cracking down throughout the holiday season. Law enforcement will be looking for drivers who are impaired by either drugs or alcohol throughout the month of December.

On average in Saskatchewan, there are more than 1,300 collisions each year involving alcohol and/or other drugs, resulting in 58 deaths and 656 injuries.

“These aren’t just numbers. They are real people who have been hurt or killed because someone chose to drive impaired,” said Earl Cameron, Vice President of the Auto Fund. “While spreading holiday cheer with friends and family, remember that someone you love is waiting for you to get home safely.”

Consequences for driving impaired by alcohol or drugs vary depending on driver experience and number of offences, and include fines, licence suspensions, vehicle seizures and mandatory ignition interlock for convicted impaired drivers. There is zero drug and alcohol tolerance for drivers under 19 years of age, and for all drivers in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) or Motorcycle GDL programs.

Police can detect drug-impaired drivers through the driver’s actions such as weaving within a lane, delayed reaction times and inability to follow instructions, as well as the driver’s physical appearance, including dilated pupils, poor balance and coordination. Police can legally request a Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) at the road side for drug-impaired driving.

Illegal drugs, as well as some prescription drugs (e.g. anti-depressants, pain killers) and over-the-counter drugs (e.g. antihistamines, motion sickness medications) can impact driving ability. Mixing different drugs together or mixing drugs with alcohol could increase impairment levels by as much as three times. Drivers should review the side effects of any medication they’re taking with their doctor or pharmacist to understand how it could affect their driving.

“Impaired driving collisions are 100 per cent preventable. With so many options to not drive impaired, there are no excuses,” said Cameron. “When planning a night out, make a safe ride home part of your plan. Choose a designated driver in advance, call a taxi or designated driving service, take the bus, walk, or stay over. Please don’t put your life and the lives of others at risk.”

Drivers are also reminded of the Report Impaired Drivers (RID) program. RID is a road safety program that encourages the public to call 911 to report a suspected impaired driver. If you see a driver you think is impaired, pull over safely to the side of the road and call 911.

Get more information on the consequences of impaired driving. SGI also has a SafeRide app to help you keep track of options for getting home safely – available to download for free from the app store. Follow SGI on Facebook and Twitter for tips on how #wecandrivebetter.

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