Saskatchewan drivers have broken a record. But it's not a good one. Last month, police in the province reported 793 distracted driving offenses, more than any other month.
"We've been doing the Traffic Safety Spotlights for four years now," shared Tyler McMurchy, manager of media relations with SGI, "and police report back the results they see every month. In those four years, we have never seen distracted numbers when it comes to offenses higher than we saw in October 2018. The closest was back in March of this year with 711 tickets."
He adds that the number of tickets is a reflection of enforcement.
"It doesn't necessarily mean that more people are choosing to drive distracted, although any look around when you're out driving or stopped at a red light, it's clear to see that there are still plenty of people who make that poor decision."
"What this tells us is that police are doing a very good job at catching distracted drivers. It also tells us that many people are still choosing to drive distracted and that's why police are able to catch so many."
He mentioned that police have become very creative in catching distracted drivers.
"Whether it's driving around in unmarked trucks so they can look down and see people on their phones. Whether it's using plain-clothed officers on sidewalks to spot distracted drivers in traffic. Whether it's motorcycles or elevated vantage points, police are very creative and innovative when it comes to catching distracted drivers."
The consequences of driving distracted are not pleasant.
"It's important to remember that the fine is a stiff one, it's $280 and four points off your safe driver recognition. Some people, if they don't learn their lesson the first time, they get a second ticket within a year, that results in another fine of $280, another four points on their safe driver recognition but also, it means that the vehicle that they're driving at the time gets impounded."
He added that it doesn't matter if you are the registered owner of the vehicle or not.
Distracted driving also has some pretty drastic consequences. Last year, it was a factor in over 6,000 crashes killing 26 people and injuring more than 950.
Police also reported in the month of October:
6,892 tickets for speeding/aggressive driving
318 impaired driving offenses including 279 Criminal Code charges
394 tickets regarding seatbelts/car seats