Starting Feb. 1, 2020, fines for distracted driving in Saskatchewan will more than double with a first offence going up from $280 to $580 plus four demerits, CBC News is reporting. “Enough is enough,” said Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
According to the new changes, a second distracted driving offence within a year will result in a $1,400 ticket, plus an additional four demerits and an immediate seven-day vehicle seizure (approx. cost $400). A third offence within a year will result in a $2,100 ticket in addition to four more demerits and another seven-day vehicle seizure.
SGI’s latest numbers have revealed that distracted driving was a factor in more than 6,000 collisions, 774 injuries and 22 deaths in 2018. In comparison, there were 6,399 distracted driving-related crashes in Saskatchewan and 26 deaths in 2017.
“Despite increased enforcement by police and significant awareness efforts by SGI, 22 people lost their lives on Saskatchewan roads in 2018 due to distracted driving or inattention. That is 22 deaths too many.”
“Many people continue to risk their lives and the lives of other on Saskatchewan roads by being complacent and choosing to ignore the laws associated with distracted driving,” he said.
“It takes a year, maybe a year and a half to two years to be able to see what the effect is,” Hargrave said of fine increases.