In an effort to reduce the high rate of injuries and fatalities on Saskatchewan's roads, the Special Committee on Traffic Safety will see several key recommendations turn into law effective June 27, 2014. One of the primary changes will effect new drivers caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, who will face a 60-day license suspension and will have their vehicle seized for three days.
"Harsher penalties are aimed at deterring the unsafe choices some Saskatchewan drivers are making," said Donna Harpauer, Minister responsible for SGI. "We want drivers to think twice before making a bad decision, like getting behind the wheel after drinking or texting while driving."
Other traffic laws being introduced in the province June 27th include:
- Impaired drivers face user-pay installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, for a minimum nine months on a first offence and up to five years for subsequent offences.
- Drug-impaired drivers will face the same consequences as drinking drivers.
- Drivers caught using their cellphone while driving for the second time within one year will have their vehicle seized for up to seven days.
- Drivers will face harsher penalties when they're traveling at 35 km/h or more over the speed limit.
- Booster seats will be mandatory for children under seven years of age, less than 145 cm (4'9") in height and under 36 kg (80 lbs) in weight.
- Photo radar will be piloted at three high-risk locations across the province and in school zones.
Motorcyclists will also note changes, with a focus on new riders:
- Riders in the Motorcycle Graduated Driver Licensing (MGDL) program and their passengers will be required to have their arms and legs covered, wear hand-covering gloves, ankle covering boots, and either an approved three-quarter, modular or full-face motorcycle helmet.
- MGDL riders will have to place a placard on their license plate to indicate they are a new rider.
- Drivers will be required to hold a Class 5 or higher driver's license before applying for a motorcycle learner's license.
- New riders will have to demonstrate their ability to operate a motorcycle through a basic ability test or successfully complete an approved training program, before getting a motorcycle learner's license.
For more information about these traffic safety changes, visit SGI's website at www.sgi.sk.ca.