Govt. cracks down on impaired drivers
Harsher penalties proposed transporting children while under the influence
A new piece of legislation introduced on Thursday would see longer licence suspensions and vehicle seizures for impaired drivers with children under 16 in the car.
“Impaired driving is always a terrible choice, but wilfully putting children at risk deserves additional penalties,” Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Joe Hargrave said in a release.
“This legislation is another tool in our government’s fight against Saskatchewan’s impaired driving problem.”
The amendment to the Traffic Safety Act would make it so that drivers with a blood alcohol content of .04 or higher, who have people under 16 years old in the vehicle with them, would receive an immediate seven-day licence suspension, up from the current three-day suspension. The same would apply for drivers who refuse to perform or who fail a field sobriety test.
Repeat offenders would face a 30-day suspension for a second incident (up from 21), and a 120-day suspension for a third offence (up from 90). Furthermore, these drivers would see their vehicles seized for longer; seven days for a first offence, 30 days for a second and 60 for a third. Importantly, the legislation would also extend the look-back period from five to 10 years, which would mean more previous offences would be caught.
Sgt. Kevin Pilsworth with the Moose Jaw Police Service said, fortunately, they do not see many cases of drunk or otherwise impaired drivers with children as passengers, but that it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen in the community.
“Impaired driving creates a dangerous situation where the potential harm is significant,” he said.
“Anything that addresses or discourages this type of behaviour is a positive.”
These increased penalties would be imposed in addition to any jail sen- tence, fine, demerit points, and additional sanctions that result from a conviction, the release explained.
Other changes that could be brought about with the new legislation include an update to the rules about slowing to 60 km/h when passing highway equipment and snow plows that are stopped with their lights on so they are on par with those for passing emergency vehicles and tow trucks.
They will also allow police to issue indefinite licence suspensions when drivers are found to have a blood alcohol level exceeding .08 and are charged under the Criminal Code.
The same would apply for people refusing to comply with a demand for a blood or breath sample, or who refuse to take a field sobriety test or be evaluated by a drug recognition evaluator.