SGI minister says harsher penalties may be introduced to curb distracted driving

Published: August 5, 2019

Updated: September 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Saskatchewan’s public auto insurance provider says the province could implement harsher penalties on motorists charged with distracted driving. The minister in charge of Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) says May saw a record number of distracted driving tickets issued and believes changes could happen.

“We’re looking at several options,” Joe Hargrave said. “You can look at increasing fines, you can look at impounding a car, you can look at restricting people’s driver’s licences.”

Hargrave revealed the possibility during SGI’s 2018-19 annual report which found the company is “financially stable” and its expansion into other markets in Canada has been successful.

Hargrave said distracted driving may not be increasing but instead police are catching more offenders following the introduction of more power for law enforcement. 120 new traffic police has been put on Saskatchewan’s roads since 2014.

Opposition NDP SGI critic Trent Wotherspoon said the Opposition party thinks increased penalties are a good idea.

“At times this government’s been slow to respond to these pressures and realities,” said Wotherspoon. “We owe it to Saskatchewan people to make sure those roads are safe. We’ll be supportive of common sense solid measures on those fronts.”