This October, whether you’re driving to your favorite pumpkin patch, heading out to pick up a Thanksgiving turkey or just out for a drive to see the changing leaves, make sure your focus is on the road.
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Driver inattention and distraction is the subject of this month’s Traffic Safety Spotlight for SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement. Police will be looking for drivers using mobile devices or just not paying enough attention to the road.OnMyWay; Drive Safe, Get Paid!
Distracted driving is a top traffic safety concern, contributing to 16 deaths and more than 4,500 collisions in Saskatchewan in 2019.
“The February increase in distracted driving penalties caught a lot of people’s attention,” said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “But despite those harsher consequences, it’s still not hard to spot drivers conspicuously staring down at their laps.”
Distracted driving results in a $580 ticket and four demerit points for a first offence; penalties increase in severity for repeat offences. Police across Saskatchewan have caught, on average, more than 500 distracted drivers every month this year.
Clearly, there’s still work to do to convince some people to #JustDrive. So how can you make sure you’re focused on the road?
Remember that distracted driving has a human cost. There are real stories in our province of people injured or killed because someone was using a phone behind the wheel. The text, the selfie or watching a viral TikTok video can wait.
Think ahead. Before you leave, ensure that your music playlist is set up, your notifications are turned off and – if you just can’t help yourself – that your phone is safely out of reach of temptation. Watch this video for five different options that will help you avoid getting a ticket for using your phone.
You have one job: Drive. Of course, mobile devices aren’t the only distraction while you’re driving. Pets and children can be a distraction, which makes it important to ensure they are buckled up and safe before departing.
Lighting that cigarette, balancing a tray of pumpkin spice lattes, eating messy foods, grooming and rummaging around in your purse or glovebox can all pull your focus from the road, with potentially disastrous consequences. Wait until you arrive or if it’s that important, pull over where it’s safe and enjoy that sloppy double cheeseburger – you’ll enjoy it more anyway.