Drivers who repeatedly use cell phones will have cars seized
Tough Saskatchewan traffic laws go into effect today
Police can now seize the cars of cellphone users who've been caught more than once — one of a series of Saskatchewan traffic law changes that go into effect today.
The impoundments can last up to seven days, according to the crown-owned insurance company, Saskatchewan Government Insurance. Vehicles can also be seized for second and subsequent offences in cases of stunt driving, driving without due care, and other offences.
Additional changes to the laws focus on impaired driving and distracted driving.
Don McMorris, the minister responsible for SGI, said it's a get-tough approach.
"We're going to say, you got to put [your cellphone] down. It's causing lots of injuries, fatalities and accidents and we're coming in with stiffer penalties," he said.
In another change that comes into effect today, all children under seven will need to ride in a booster seat.
Regina police Const. Nolan Bespalko, who is involved with traffic enforcement, said the change will help prevent seat belt injuries.
"If they're not on a booster seat, the seatbelt has a greater likelihood of being across their neck," he said.
There's a grace period for drivers of about a month, during which time police have been outfitted with 200 vouchers for booster seats, courtesy of Canadian Tire.
Instead of ticketing violators at first, police will hand out a coupon for a free seat.
After the grace period, improperly securing a child will be subject to a $175 fine.
Last year in Saskatchewan, there were 134 deaths and 6,762 injuries on the highways. SGI hopes to reduce deaths by 10 per cent next year.