When your province has a severe drunk driving problem, you make changes. That’s why lawmakers changed impaired driving laws in Saskatchewan. Although it’s only been a few months since the most recent changes, the province is starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Recently released data on impaired driving charges in Regina is showing that the changes are really making a difference in the city. The number of impaired driving charges is down compared to a year ago. In 2016 there were 468 impaired driving charges by this time of the year, but in 2017 there were only 382. That’s an 18% decrease.
If you look on a month to month basis, October 2016 saw 46 people charged for impaired driving in Regina, while October 2017 saw 37.
What’s the reason behind such a significant drop in impaired driving rates? It could be the new .04 blood alcohol limit. Saskatchewan drivers can have their vehicles impounded if they are caught with a BAC of .04 or higher.
It could also be the increased duration of the ignition interlock program. Impaired driving laws in Saskatchewan changed to increase how long an offender would be required to use an ignition interlock. Because a convicted drunk driver is required to blow an alcohol-free breath sample into an interlock to start their car, the interlock program is steadily decreasing the number of repeat offenders on the roads.
It could also be zero tolerance laws for teen drivers. Any underage driver can’t drive with any amount of alcohol in his or her system, and if they are caught driving under the influence, he or she will receive a 60-day driver’s license suspension for a first offense.
It’s clear the changes to impaired driving laws in Saskatchewan are making a real difference on the roads, and if they’ve seen that much change in city in one year, imagine what the stats will look like in another year.