Close to 800 drivers — most of whom were impaired — have had their vehicles seized since Saskatchewan’s new driving laws came into effect in June.

On top of that, 515 received licence suspensions, for a total of 1,300 offences.

SGI spokeswoman Kelly Brinkworth hopes the vehicle seizures “make people think twice” about drinking and driving.

“Even if it happens once, it should be enough of a wake-up call,” she said.

After all, she said, it’s not easy to explain the loss of your vehicle to your family or, if it’s a company car, your boss.

The number of unauthorized drivers who had their vehicles seized was close to the number of impaired seizures — 280, compared with 293 drunk drivers.

But it seems not everyone’s taking notice of the new laws, with the number of both high- and low-impaired driving charges higher than this time last year.

While SGI has heard from a few motorists irate at having their vehicle seized, Brinkworth said “if they weren’t (drinking and driving) in the first place, it would never have happened.”

One extra person has been hired to deal with the extra paperwork of the new laws, the cost of which is covered by the $50 SGI gets from each vehicle seizure.

Brinkworth said it’s expected the agency will be able to keep up, which will be easy if, as she hopes, the downward trend of offences continues.

The tougher laws targeting distracted, impaired and lead-footed drivers came into effect on June 27, and SGI estimates it will save $12 million through reduced accident claims.

The changes, which include longer licence suspensions and vehicle seizures, are some of the most significant changes to traffic laws.

In a statement, SGI president and CEO Andrew Cartmell called the high number of impaired driver infractions “frustrating.”

“There’s simply no excuse for drinking and driving when there are so many options for getting home safely,” he said.

“Thanks to new vehicle seizure laws, drivers that don’t plan a safe ride home and choose to drive while impaired can now be removed from the road immediately, reducing the risk of a senseless collision and possible injury or death.”

Source: Leader Post


Last updated on: 2014-08-23 | Link to this post