Friday, 19 May 2017 06:26

Drive safe, drive sober: Police checkstops throughout Saskatchewan

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Police all over the province will be running check stops during the long weekend to help curb and catch impaired drivers.

"We want everyone to be able to enjoy their long weekend in the company of their loved ones," said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. "As you head out this weekend, make sure to buckle up and put the cellphone away, and don't drive if you've consumed drugs or alcohol."
Saskatchewan's tough new impaired driving laws - which came into effect Jan. 1 - mean that experienced drivers charged with .04 blood alcohol content (BAC) will lose their licence for three days, and have their vehicle seized for three days. For all drivers 21 and under and anyone in the Graduated Driver Licensing program, there is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol. If there is any alcohol or drugs in a new driver's system, they can lose their licence for a minimum of 60 days and have their vehicle seized for a minimum of three days.
"Our members, along with other police officers across the province, will be out this weekend, specifically seeking out those who have chosen to drive impaired," said Sergeant Ian Barr of the Regina Police Traffic Section. "Anyone we find ignoring the drinking and driving laws will be held accountable. The cost of drunk driving can be immense - injury, loss of life, loss of income, and legal consequences are all realistic possible outcomes. It's just not worth it."
There are many ways to avoid these risks. Take a cab, call a friend, use public transit, use a designated driver service, or just stay the night.
Some police agencies will be rewarding safe driving behaviour with positive ticketing during the long weekend.
SGI's social media team will be live-Tweeting at the Regina Police Service's check stop on May 19. Follow @SGItweets on Twitter for updates.
SGI reminds long weekend travellers that highways will be busy. As traffic increases, so do the chances of being involved in a collision.
May long weekend is notorious for a high number of collisions. If you add alcohol to the mix, your chance of being in a collision on the long weekend almost doubles. Preliminary data for 2016 shows 255 collisions in Saskatchewan during the May long weekend, resulting in 82 injuries and two deaths. In 2015, there were 212 collisions, resulting in 40 injuries. In 2014, there were 198 collisions, resulting in 52 injuries and five deaths.
Here are some tips to help you get to your long weekend destination safely:
    •    Put down the phone! Avoid distractions while driving. Remember, holding, using, viewing or manipulating a cellphone while driving is illegal unless operated with a hands-free device (for experienced drivers only). The safest thing to do is pull over to take or make a call. Drivers in the Graduated Driver Licensing program are not able to use, hold, view or manipulate any type of cellphone while driving.
    •    Slow down! Travel at the speed limit or at a speed appropriate for the current road conditions.
    •    Buckle up! All occupants must wear seatbelts and all children must be properly fastened in the appropriate child restraint for their age and size.
    •    Plan ahead! Allow enough travel time on longer trips and take frequent breaks to avoid driving while fatigued.
    •    Drive sober! Always plan a safe ride home. Don't drink and drive or use drugs and drive.

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