New police units to watch over deadly Saskatchewan roads

Provincial government adds 60 traffic safety officers to watch over deadly Saskatchewan roads. File / Global News

SASKATOON – The province is adding 60 traffic safety officers to police Saskatchewan’s deadliest roads.

On Monday, the Saskatchewan government announced two new dedicated traffic safety enforcement units starting up this summer.

Units will help enforce new traffic laws coming into effect on June 27.

“New legislation with a focus on harsher penalties for impaired driving, distracted driving and excessive speed takes effect in the province,” said Donna Harpauer, minister responsible for SGI.

“We’re taking a number of initiatives on many fronts – one being education and one being increasing the penalties – and now we’re increasing the enforcement.”

According to SGI preliminary numbers, 142 people died on provincial roads last year. In 2013, a record-breaking 183 deaths occurred.

The 30-officer units will each cover central and southeast Saskatchewan, targeting high-risk roads like Highways 11, 16, 39 and 6.

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“The dedicated traffic safety enforcement units will use data and analysis to focus on a number of behaviors that cause traffic fatalities,” said Clive Weighill, Saskatoon police chief.

“These focuses will include impaired driving, distracted driving, excessive speed and intersection safety.”

The units were developed as a result of recommendations made by a Saskatchewan legislative committee in August 2013.

READ MORE: Special committee making Saskatchewan roads safer

An estimated $2.4 million from the SGI Auto Fund will cover the initiative in 2014.

The units are expected to be fully-staffed by 2016.

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