It’s well known that Saskatchewan has one of the worst impaired driving problems in Canada. Just look at Statistics Canada data on Saskatchewan impaired driving and you’ll see that, with 683 police-reported impaired driving cases per 100,000 people, the province has far exceeded the Canadian average of 262.
But the question that Saskatchewan law makers are continually grappling with is why: why does the province have such a high rate of drunk drivers, and how can they get a handle on these drivers to stop the senseless death and destruction that comes along with alcohol-related and drug-related crashes?
Some people are now coming front and center with what they think is a solution. They feel ridesharing should come to the province, and by bringing in companies like Uber and Lyft, the province will have options to reduce the likelihood that someone drinks and drives.
One minster for the Saskatchewan Government has introduced a new bill that would allow these companies to operate in the province. He believes Saskatchewan impaired driving is a huge problem for a few reasons.
The first reason? Drunk drivers don’t want to leave their vehicles behind after a night out, so they skip the cab. Secondly, these drivers live in rural areas where there is no access to cabs or car companies, so they feel forced to get behind the wheel.
If Uber and Lyft did come to Saskatchewan, the companies would be focused on larger cities like Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert. The rural areas would be left out, and that’s what’s bothering some who are skeptical that ridesharing would even work. Some designated driver services in the province have even said rideshare is impossible because it’s difficult to get insurance for such a service.
The rural areas, with endless stretches of empty roads, are the routes that many drunk drivers take to get home. It’s also the areas they crash in, and critics worry that without ridesharing in these remote spots, these drivers will just continue to get behind the wheel drunk.
Just like in Vancouver, where the battle for Uber has been going for several years, the rideshare debate shows no signs of going away in Saskatchewan. Let’s hope they come up with a solution that ensures safer roads for all Saskatchewan residents.