Every month, SGI focuses on one specific area of driving concerns in the province. In November, it was disqualified drivers and those driving without a valid registration, this month it is impaired driving. In conjunction with the spotlight, police also keep track of other traffic offences such as impaired driving and distracted driving. November was a record breaking month when it came to the amount of drivers caught driving distracted.
"We saw a record number when it came to distracted driving offences reported by police," shared SGI's Tyler McMurchy. "We saw 636 distracted driving tickets handed out during the month of November. 554 of them were related to cellphone use which is the highest we've seen in the three year history of Traffic Safety Spotlights."
He acknowledges that increased enforcement may be a contributing factor to the number of tickets that were issued.
"These numbers might be a function of a greater deal of enforcement but the thing you have to remember is, if police are catching this many drivers doing it, clearly it's still a problem."
"The law did change at the start of 2017, so it made it very clear that motorists are not allowed to hold, manipulate or view a handheld electronic device while they are operating a motor vehicle. If you are an experienced driver, you can us the hands-free or the voice activated, one touch option. But if you are a new driver in the graduated driver's licensing program, you're not allowed to use a cellphone at all."
"We prefer if nobody was distracted when they were operating 4000 lbs of glass and steel. It's very important for people to remember to put the phones down and keep their head up."
McMurchy added that driving distracted is a real concern in this province.
"It's the second leading cause of fatalities, second only to impaired driving. It's the number one cause of collisions and injuries in Saskatchewan."