Saskatoon

Sask. police set sights on distracted drivers in March

Drivers might want to think twice before using their phones on the road next month.

SGI says cell phones were the top contributing factor in fatal collisions last year

Saskatchewan police will be focusing on distracted drivers in March. (Getty Images)

Drivers might want to think twice before using their phones on the road.

For the month of March, police across Saskatchewan will be focusing on drivers texting, making calls or checking Facebook.

"When you're behind the wheel, you're responsible for thousands of pounds of glass and steel," said SGI executive vice-president Earl Cameron. "At road speeds, a quick lapse in attention can come with a lifetime of consequences. The next time you have the urge to do anything but drive while behind the wheel, ask yourself if that distraction is really worth it."

​36 people killed in 2015

Police will also be searching for distracted drivers, which includes people eating, putting on makeup or programming a GPS.

According to the crown-owned insurance company, there were nearly 5,700 collisions in Saskatchewan caused by distracted driving in 2015; 802 people were injured in those crashes and 36 were killed.

In January, laws against distracted driving were strengthened by the provincial government. Now, drivers aren't allowed to use, watch, hold or manipulate mobile devices while driving.

Experienced drivers are allowed to use Bluetooth devices if the phone is mounted to the dashboard. New drivers aren't allowed to use cellphones at all.

Impaired driving

Saskatchewan police have also released traffic offense numbers for January. For the fourth month in a row, police focused on impaired driving.

  • 269 people charged with exceeding .08 blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • 7 people charged with BAC between 0.4 and 0.8
  • 3,376 people ticketed for speeding/aggressive driving
  • 397 people ticketed for distracted driving (321 for cellphone use)
  • 322 people ticketed for seatbelts/child car seats

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