Govt. cracks down on im­paired drivers

Harsher penal­ties pro­posed trans­port­ing chil­dren while un­der the in­flu­ence

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - FRONT PAGE - SARAH LADIK

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.

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