It was long over due when the Saskatchewan ignition interlock program became mandatory in June of 2014. With one of the worst impaired driving records in the entire country, this is a province that needed a concrete way to stop drunk drivers from making the choice to drive drunk again.
In Saskatchewan, any driver receiving a Criminal Code conviction of impaired driving, over .08, or refusal to submit to a breathalyzer will be required to install the device in any vehicle he or she drives. For a first offense, the driver will receive a three-month driver’s license suspension and one year with an ignition interlock. A second offense requires the driver to lose his or her license for six months and drive with an interlock for two years, and a third offense will require the driver to spend three years with the ignition interlock.
There are exemptions to the mandatory Saskatchewan ignition interlock program. If you’ve received your first offense and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was less than .16, you can apply for an exemption. You may be exempt for the following reasons:
- You live too far away from an ignition interlock service center
- You have a medical reason and note from a doctor as to why you can’t use an ignition interlock
- You don’t own or have access to a vehicle
- It’s not possible to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle because of wiring issues or mechanical reasons
If you aren’t exempt from the Saskatchewan ignition interlock program, you’ll have to stick with your ignition interlock as long as you’re required to. If you violate the program during your time with your interlock, you’ll receive varying penalties. If, for example, you skip a rolling retest, you’ll receive a warning letter in the mail. If you skip the rolling retest during the last three months of your ignition interlock program, you’ll get three months added to your time.
Ignition interlocks can stop drunk drivers from leaving the driveway, and by requiring them for all offenders and enforcing driver installation, they’re Saskatchewan’s best chance of putting an end to its drunk driving epidemic.