Record distracted driving vehicle seizures push Saskatchewan into action

Published: February 28, 2019

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Saskatchewan, like other Canadian provinces, has a distracted driving problem. In another effort to curb motorists using their devices behind the wheel, the province’s public insurance provider is putting a spotlight on distracted driving in March.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) says it seized a record number of vehicles in 2018 following distracted driving infractions. For its monthly Traffic Safety Spotlight in March, the company will be going after offending motorists.

Each month, law enforcement in the province put extra focus on one aspect of dangerous driving, such as speeding and impaired driving.

During 2018, SGI reports 87 drivers had their vehicles seized and impounded because they were ticketed for using a smartphone when driving. The company says this was a record amount since it introduced distracted driving laws in 2010.

Turning into 2019, the trend continues as Saskatchewan police reported a massive 640 distracted driving cases in January alone. 545 of those infractions involved the driver using a cellphone.

“As you can see from the number of distracted driving tickets issued in January, police continue to report high numbers of distracted drivers each and every month, particularly when it comes to cellphones. So we are going to be increasing the amount of Traffic Safety Spotlights in relation to distracted driving. We’re going to have three in 2019, this one in March, then again in June, and finally October. It’s always a good reminder for people to keep their phones down and their heads up,” said Manager of Media Relations with SGI, Tyler McMurchy.

Sask’s Traffic Safety Act allows police to seize and impound a vehicle for a second offence of distracted driving within a year, alongside a $280 fine. Vehicles are held for seven days, while drivers also receive four demerit points on their license.