SGI: police to focus on distracted driving in October

Published: October 8, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The Police force in Saskatchewan has announced it will put its focus on distracted driving as part of the province’s traffic safety spotlight for October.

During this month, authorities will be employing consistent tactics to find and catch distracted drivers, such as unmarked police vehicles, plainclothes officers on sidewalks, and surveillance tactics. The spotlight focus was announced by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) in a press release this week.

Regina Police Service announced it will also run “Operation Bus Cop” which will see them look for distracted bus drivers in the city. Police will focus particularly on drivers using handheld smartphones, which are used for talk, text, and browsing online.

SGI points out it is illegal to use a cellphone in the province when driving “even if you’re simply holding a cellphone and not using it, you can still be charged,” SGI reported.

Drivers with a second distracted driving offence within one year, the vehicle will be seized for seven days. Drivers are only permitted to use a cellphone if it is mounted on their visor or dash, with voice-activated or one-touch functions. Learner and novice drivers are now allowed to use their cellphone in any form, not even hands-free.

“Drivers are still not getting the message,” said Superintendent Brian Shalovelo of the Saskatoon Police Service. “If you are in control of a vehicle, anything that takes your attention away from the road is dangerous. If someone says they were picking up a CD on the floor when they lost control, that is distracted driving. Changing the radio station, smoking a cigarette, reading a map or your mail – these are all examples of how a driver can be distracted. We’ve even seen people watching Netflix while driving,” he said.