The latest numbers provide a disappointing reflection on efforts to combat drinking and driving in Saskatchewan.
In December, police recorded 353 impaired driving offences – compared to 308 the year before, according to a release from Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
December was the third consecutive month where SGI and police across the province ran an awareness campaign against drinking and driving.
“It’s certainly disappointing,” said Earl Cameron, vice-president of the Auto Fund, in a release Monday.
“After extensive coverage in the media about safe ride options, increased enforcement and the tougher impaired driving laws that would be coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, people are still choosing to drive when they shouldn’t.”
Saskatchewan has had Canada’s worst drinking and driving rate for decades..A rash of deaths spurred the province to enact tougher laws that came into effect Jan. 1.
SGI noted December saw 10 people charged with having a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .04 and .08. Each got a three-day licence suspension, four demerit points on their driving record and must complete a Driving Without Impairment (DWI) course. If they’d been caught after New Years, each would also have had their vehicle seized for three days under the new laws.
The province said there were 343 people were charged under the Criminal Code for driving while legally impaired, or refusing to give a breath sample.
If found guilty, those drivers will lose their licences for a year, pay penalties up to $17,750 and lose up to 20 points on their driving record.
They would also have to attend the three-day DWI program and have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for at least one year after getting their licences back. If convicted, they’ll also have criminal records, which can make it challenging to find work or travel outside Canada.
The province and police continue to encourage having a plan for a safe ride home before heading out.
Other dangerous driving offences recorded in December:
- 2,894 speeding violations
- 282 distracted driving offences (144 of those were for cellphone use)
- 167 tickets for inappropriate or no seatbelt/child safety seat