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Tougher penalties introduced for impaired drivers with kids in vehicle

Drivers with a blood alcohol content of .04 or higher will face tougher penalties if they are transporting children

Drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 or higher who transport children will face even longer roadside licence suspensions and vehicle seizures under legislation introduced today.
The Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2017 implements an immediate seven-day administrative driving suspension on a first offence for a person who transports a child under the age of 16 and has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 or higher, refuses to undergo a field sobriety test or fails a field sobriety test. This is an increase from the current three-day roadside suspension. This is in addition to any jail sentence, fine, demerit points and additional sanctions that result from the impaired driving conviction. Continue reading “Tougher penalties introduced for impaired drivers with kids in vehicle”

REALITY CHECK: Young drivers learn the ugly truth about vehicle collisions

Martensville Fire Department members (left to right) Brendan Clancy, Captain Bill Symons, and Jason Matheson remove a mannequin ‘victim’ from a vehicle during a demonstration of extrication techniques at the Safe Driving for the Next Generation workshop in Martensville on Friday, March 17.

Only eight per cent of Saskatchewan drivers are teenagers, but they run the highest risk of being involved in a serious or fatal collision, according to Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
SGI Traffic Safety Community Relations Coordinator Jackie Bosch said the government insurance company’s statistics show teen drivers account for 10 per cent of collisions, 10 per cent of major collisions, and 13 per cent of fatal collisions in the province.
That’s a statistic that needs to change, said Bosch.
“We all want kids to make smart choices when it comes to driving,” she said. “In order to do that, they need to know what the consequences are of distracted driving and impaired driving.”
Several hundred high school students from Dalmeny, Martensville and Warman got a first-hand look at the causes, and aftermath, of collisions during a “Safe Driving for the Next Generation” workshop held Friday, March 17 at Speedy Collision in Martensville. Organized by Speedy Collision co-owners Rob Keet and Heather Laing Keet, the event was aimed at promoting safe driving habits.
“Our goal is to make everyone more aware of the dangers of distracted driving and impaired driving, as well as give the students a close-up look at what happens in a real-life situation when there’s a collision,” said Heather Laing Keet. “We’re very happy with how the day went, with all the cooperation from the police and fire department and SGI, as well as our sponsors.
“If this helps save a single life, then it was definitely worth it.”
Tracy Church of SGI said all drivers need to be aware of the changes to the law that came into effect earlier this year. There is now “zero tolerance” for alcohol and drugs for drivers 21 and under, and for all new drivers.
The new law also has provisions for a three-day vehicle seizure for experienced drivers that are caught with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of between .04 and .08 on a first offence.
The SGI officials noted that vehicle insurance is voided if the driver involved in a collision is impaired.
Student volunteers from the audience learned how easy it is to lose control of a vehicle while texting using a video game driving simulator provided by SGI.
RCMP Constable Jay Slack, one of the speakers at the event, said driving is a big responsibility that demands a person’s full attention. The key to safe driving, he said, is to remain calm and focused behind the wheel.
“A vehicle is a 5000-pound weapon,” said Slack. “You have to be careful about what you’re doing all the time. A moment’s distraction can be fatal.”
Slack warned students to be especially wary of “blind spots” such as the windshield pillars, and to always double-check for pedestrians.
Slack utilized three student volunteers from the audience to illustrate the effects of impaired driving by having them wear goggles designed to distort their perception. He said drugs, including marijuana, have a similar effect.
Martensville Fire Department (MFD) Captain Ryan Cross described the process of extricating a crash victim from a vehicle while other MFD members pulled the doors off a donated vehicle using specialized power tools.
Cross said new vehicles have many airbags and sensors that are designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision. But they can also be dangerous, he added.
“Airbags deploy instantly, and they go off with a bang,” said Cross. “They pack a tremendous force and can injure or kill a person if not used properly.”
MFD First Responder Heidi Huziek explained the role of medical emergency personnel, and encouraged students to learn basic first aid procedures.
Rob Keet explained to students the steps involved in reporting a collision, depending on its severity, and making an insurance claim following the incident.