For the month of August, SGI is highlighting the risks and dangers of distracted driving, reminding motorists when they're behind the wheel, to ‘Just Drive.’
On average, in the last five years, 780 people were injured every year in Saskatchewan, due to driver distraction and lack of attention while operating a vehicle.
SGI's Manager of Media Relations, Tyler McMurchy, said that distracted driving applies to much more than just texting and driving.
“Of course, cell phones and many of the entertaining apps and functions of a cell phone are a very popular form of distraction, but they're not the only thing that can distract you while driving,” he explained. “It could be other passengers, it could be fiddling with your vehicle sound system, your air conditioning, it could be any number of things that could distract you. But really, when you're driving, you should just drive.”
The penalties for distracted driving are not minor, beginning with a $580 ticket and four demerits for a first-time offence.
If a repeat offence occurs within one year, ticket costs rise to $1,400 for a second ticket and $2,100 for a third ticket. Repeat offences also result in a seven-day vehicle impoundment.
McMurchy added that there are multiple ways motorists can avoid being distracted behind the wheel.
“You can set your playlist, you can make sure that your passengers are secured as they're supposed to be, whether it's kids or pets,” he said. “You can make sure that you have your route figured out before you leave, so you don't have to worry about checking your phone while you're driving.”
Distracted driving results in an average of 21.6 fatalities per year and is responsible for one in five collision-related injuries.