January 3, 2017 9:53 am
Updated: January 3, 2017 4:15 pm

More work needed to end distracted driving: Saskatoon Safety Council

WATCH ABOVE: Al Reichert, with Saskatoon Safety Council, joins Global’s Joelle Tomlinson in studio to talk about the dangers of texting and driving and the new rules that just came into effect in Saskatchewan.

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On Jan. 1, Saskatchewan’s new laws for discouraging distracted driving came into effect.

Al Reichert, with the Saskatoon Safety Council, says more effort is needed by drivers to adopt a simple safety practice behind the wheel.

“The big change is you are no longer allowed to touch a cell phone while you are driving,” Reichert said.

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“The problem before was that the law was a little bit fuzzy. People were pleading not guilty to the charge of using their cell phone because they were just holding it, well now that’s changed.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan government closes language loop hole in distracted driving rules

Reichert said drivers caught holding cell phones will face a $280 fine and four demerit points.

“It took us a long time to get to wearing seatbelts … we’re still dealing with the problem of drinking and driving and unfortunately this inattention or distracted driving is just as serious as drinking and driving as far as the numbers are concerned,” he said.

READ MORE: Texting while driving ends in rollover: Saskatoon police

There was a single-vehicle rollover last week in Saskatoon where the driver was charged with texting while driving on 22nd Street West.

“It’s a big serious problem. I don’t know … I don’t think it’s going to happen right away. It’s going to take time but we have to keep working at it, we have to keep saying ‘don’t do this’ because you’re putting yourself and others in peril,” he said.

“In my opinion, it’s not improving that much.”

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