An old story summarized a familiar message from SGI.
“’Twas the month before Christmas and all through the land, many police were patrolling, with breath testers in hand. Impaired driving is the traffic spotlight for December, drivers take heed and we hope you remember,” rhymed SGI President and CEO Andrew Cartmell.
Turning the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas into a poem served a dual purpose. While entertaining to read, the words carried a sobering message and reminded drivers police will be out and about looking for impaired driving this holiday season.
Last year, between Dec. 1 and Jan. 3, three people died as a result of impaired driving-related collisions while 35 more were injured. Through the entirety of 2016, alcohol was a factor in 56 deaths, or 46 percent of all traffic fatalities in Saskatchewan. Over 400 people were injured in collisions involving alcohol or drugs.
Cartmell’s poem also highlighted the consequences of drunk driving. His words tell the story of two parents who get a chance to go out. While enjoying a night of drinking, the pair declined offers to stay at the hosts’ house and refused to take a cab.
“Dad pulled off to the side, with a feeling of dread, for he knew he’d been caught, and what lay ahead. The breath test was quick, and the result was less than great; the machine does not lie, Dad exceeded .08,” Cartmell said.
New drivers, including those 21-years-old or younger, are expected to operate vehicles with zero alcohol in their systems. Any new drivers caught violating the law surrender their licence for 60 days while their vehicle is suspended for three days. New drivers are required to attend a driving without impairment course.
For experienced drivers, consequences start at a blood alcohol content of .04 to .08. The first offence results in a three-day licence suspension along with a three day vehicle seizure. First time offenders are also required to complete a driving without impairment course.
According to a release issued by SGI, Saskatchewan boasts the strongest ignition interlock laws in the country. Ignition interlock devices are mandatory for drivers convicted with impaired driving, or who decline to provide a breath sample. Mandatory participation in the ignition interlock program ranges from one to 10 years depending on previous convictions and blood alcohol content levels at the time of the offense.
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