In April, SGI and law enforcement across the province put an emphasis on the provincial, administrative penalties for alcohol and drugs when it comes to drivers. For new drivers, there is zero tolerance for both, while for experienced drivers, the limit is .04 blood alcohol content and zero tolerance for drugs. The numbers that came out confirmed what SGI had stated when they first announced this would be the focus for the month – new drivers make up a disproportionate amount of the suspensions handed out.  

Throughout the province, new drivers make up nine percent of all drivers in the province, but in April, they were responsible for over a third of all of the administrative suspensions. There were 316 total suspensions – 126 for alcohol and 190 for drugs – that were issued by law enforcement. New drivers accounted for 113 of those suspensions (49 for alcohol, 64 for drugs).  

“We define a new driver as somebody who is a learner, a Novice 1 or Novice 2, or anyone under the age of 22,” explained Tyler McMurchy. He is the Manager of Media Relations and Communications with SGI. “They aren’t allowed any alcohol or drugs in their system whatsoever when they drive.” 

The suspensions for new drivers are also fairly lengthy, starting at 60 days.  

“That will definitely, I think, have a significant impact on your social life, your ability to get to and from school or work, or just do anything that you want to do,” McMurchy said of getting a license suspension. “So, it’s much easier to find a safe ride if you’re going to be drinking or using anything else that impairs you.” 

Over the month of April, the Weyburn Police Service reported there were three administrative suspensions handed out, which accounted for one percent of all of the suspensions issued in the province. All of the suspensions were for experienced drivers.  

In addition to the 316 administrative penalties that were issued, there were another 170 Criminal Code charges for impaired driving during the month of April across the province. There were two Criminal Code charges during the month of April in Weyburn.  

Law enforcement wasn’t just focused on impaired driving in April, though. A number of other tickets were handed out across the province.  

“We saw 4,203 tickets for speeding and aggressive driving offences, 381 tickets for people not wearing a seatbelt or not having a passenger properly restrained, and we also saw 573 tickets for distracted driving,” added McMurchy. “The majority of those – 465 – were for cell phone use while driving.” 

Here in Weyburn, there were 46 tickets under the Traffic Safety Act that were issued by the Weyburn Police Service over the course of April. 

The Traffic Safety Spotlight in May has been on right-of-way and traffic control devices. The numbers from this spotlight are expected to be released in the second half of June. SGI is already looking ahead and planning the spotlight for next month. It will be on things such as safe following distance.