‘Distracted driving kills:’ SGI looking to curb an out of hand issue with October’s traffic safety spotlight

Distracted driving is the traffic safety spotlight for SGI for the month of October.

SGI is expecting RCMP and local police services will issue around one thousand tickets for distracted driving, whether it’s cell phone use, eating, or other various actions that involve taking your eyes away from the road.

SGI’s Tyler McMurchy said distracted driving is a serious issue.

“It is consistently one of the leading causes of collisions, injuries, and of fatalities,” McMurchy said. “In 2018, we saw more than 6,000 collisions in which driver distraction or inattention was a factor and those collisions resulted in more than 700 injuries, and 22 fatalities.”

RCMP Corporal Mark Skinner said distracted driving poses a problem for your safety, as well as everyone else around you.

“Simply put you’re not looking at the road, you’re looking at other things, your attention is distracted,” Skinner said. “For example, if you’re travelling at 60 km/h, and you take your attention away from the road for even a second, your car travels almost 17 meters, so you’re missing so much of that information that’s coming in, and you’re unable to react.”

A few local personalities were able to take part in a fun initiative to help talk about SGI’s traffic safety spotlight for October.

Saskatchewanderer Zane Buchanan, blogger Tenille Lafontaine, Rebellion Brewing President Mark Heise, and Evraz Place spokesperson Sabeen Ahmad all took part in a distracted driving obstacle course at the RCMP depot to help spread the message of how dangerous it can be.

Ahmad said her experience showed her just how difficult it can be to be safe while distracted behind the wheel.

“I think the reality is that in your head you may think you can get away with it, and we’ve all seen and heard even if you’re texting you don’t think you’re doing a bad job, but you may be swerving in a lane, and you don’t even know it, so it really is a testament to ‘you think it’s not that bad, but it actually is.’”

The provincial government first put in distracted driving legislation in 2010, bu it has been amended since then. A first-time offender will receive a $280 ticket and four demerit points.

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