Saskatchewan roads were populated with an alarming number of residents behind the wheel and under the influence last month.
According to a release issued last week by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), July was full of impaired driving, aggressive driving, and driving without seat belts.
Jeremy Pilon, a communications consultant with SGI, said that although the number is not a record for them, it’s still concerningly high.
“The short answer is too many people were stopped,” he expressed. “The actual number is 497 impaired drivers were caught in July.”
Over half of those people exceeded the .08 limit, subjecting 292 drivers to Criminal Code offences.
Pilon attributed the higher numbers to a heavier police presence actively looking for impaired driving, leading to more people being intercepted, and fewer getting away with it.
“I mean, getting caught is a better outcome than being in a collision and injuring or killing someone,” he stated.
Aggressive driving or speeding offences for the same month totaled 5,411, an alarming number that is still lower than in previous years by thousands.
According to Pilon, numbers for those offenses are in the 5,000 range every month, and the two Julys prior were sitting around 7,500.
SGI has partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for the Report Impaired Driving Program, which works to encourage residents to report unusual behaviours on the roadways by pulling over and calling 9-1-1.
“Obviously, impaired driving is what we're trying to get in front of,” he said. “But if anybody is having difficulty behind the wheel (maybe it's a medical issue, or they're just really tired, or distracted driving), that's something we want the police to be able to respond to.”
Law enforcement response to situations can save lives by way of getting medical attention to a driver that might need it, or taking a reckless driver off the road to prevent a collision.
With harvest in full swing in the southwest, SGI is asking drivers to be especially mindful of farm equipment on the roadways, keeping in mind that driving at faster speeds leaves folks with a slower reaction time, and distracted driving can obstruct focus from the dangerous machinery around them.