Could 2018 finally be the year Saskatchewan drunk drivers give up the top spot for crashes and arrests in Canada? That’s what some residents are hoping after the province saw several tragic crashes and an increasing amount of Saskatchewan drunk drivers arrested for alcohol and drug violations.
Tragic crashes like the one that claimed the life of the Van de Vorst family in 2016 and high-profile arrests like that of former deputy premier Don McMorris are cited in a recent news article detailing why Saskatchewan drunk drivers keep that top spot. Although Statistics Canada hasn’t released data for 2017, data shows that in 2016 there were 57 people were killed and 464 were injured in 1,000 crashes that happened in Saskatchewan.
Thankfully, Saskatchewan has already taken steps to stop their drunk drivers, and legislation has passed that the province hopes will turn the tide in 2018.
Ignition interlock programs
Saskatchewan’s ignition interlock program changed in 2017, and that change means more time with the device for all offenders. While a first time offender only needed to use the device for one year when they were charged with an offense over .08, now that same person will need to use the device for two years if they were arrested with a BAC over .159.
SGI is suing responsible bars
2017 was the first year that SGI sued bars they felt had a hand in a drunk driving collision. In response to the deaths of the Van de Vorst family, SGI is suing two bars who served alcohol to the offender who drove drunk and caused the crash. It’s a sobering wake up call for any club who may be tempted to over-serve.
Zero tolerance for any drugged drivers
Just this past November the province of Saskatchewan announced a zero-tolerance law for any drug-impaired drivers. They also added 200 police officers who are trained to source out drugged drivers.
Let’s hope that all of these changes make a difference in the province, and Saskatchewan drunk drivers finally get the message: there’s no reward for having the top spot on list of worst impaired drivers in Canada.