SGI is asking drivers in Saskatchewan what they would rather do with $280. Would you rather spend it on a trip to the spa or on a car payment? Or would you rather spend it on a ticket for distracted driving?
"I think everybody has better things to do with $280 than spending it on a distracted driving ticket," shared Tyler McMurchy with SGI. "You can go to the movies a number of times with somebody special, you can take them out for a nice dinner. You can buy 100 plus double-doubles, you can buy 40 cartons of Ben & Jerry's. Anything's better than flushing that $280 down the drain."
"During the month of March, distracted driving is the traffic safety spotlight and police all across the province will be looking for distracted drivers caught in the act of using their phones behind the wheel, or distracted in other ways."
"Doing so will net those drivers a $280 fine and four demerit points."
Every month between 400 and 600 people get distracted driving tickets in Saskatchewan.
"Police have gotten really good at catching drivers on their phones and distracted in other ways. It's best just to focus on what you're doing when you're behind the wheel and just drive."
He adds that anything that takes your attention away from the safe operation of a motor vehicle and that can include things like eating, reading, grooming, tending to children or pets, having emotional conversations, or fiddling with the radio or GPS.
"If you're not paying attention to what you're doing, you are distracted and when you are operating 4000 lbs of glass and steel, that deserves your full and undivided attention."
And for those you don't get the message the first time around, penalties increase.
"The punishments do get worse," he added. "If you get two distracted driving cellphone tickets within a year, not only do you get two of those $280 fines and a total of eight demerit points, you also get the vehicle you were operating seized, even if it's your mom's. And then the owner of the vehicle is then responsible for all the towing and impound costs as well as the inconvenience of not having your vehicle for a week."
Last year, this happened 37 times.
But even worse than the monetary costs associated with driving distracted, is the fact that you are 23 times more likely to be in a collision.
"The very real cost of distracted driving is much greater. There were 8300 collisions related to distracted driving in 2016. There were more than 1200 people injured in distracted driving collisions and there were 42 killed in collisions in which distracted driving was a factor."
"It's the number two cause of traffic fatalities, it's the number one cause of collisions, and the number one cause of traffic collision injuries."
"There is a very significant cost to distracted driving beyond the $280 fine."