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Distracted drivers outnumber impaired drivers: a first for Saskatchewan

For the first time in Saskatchewan’s history, there are
more distracted drivers than impaired drivers on the road. SGI reports that in
the past year (up until December 17, 2012), there were 173 fatalities due to
collisions. 57 of those were attributed to distracted driving, while alcohol
was the main factor in 54 of those collisions.
 

Across the country, a number of awareness
campaigns have tried to show the worst that can happen when drivers are focused
elsewhere.
Still, police say it is an
ongoing problem.
 

“When you’re driving and you hear that noise
that notifies you that there’s something there to look at, it’s very tempting
to respond to it,” said Sgt. Ian Barr from the Regina Police Service.
 

Distracted driving is not
a new phenomenon. But the huge increase in available technology has definitely
amplified the risks.
 

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“It comprises a whole variety of things.
People… watching videos whilst driving. People playing with their radio
whilst they are driving,” said SGI’s Kwei Quaye.
 

According to SGI, there
are three major factors that are responsible for the majority of fatalities on
the road. Speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving while impaired. These
normally occur in combination in accidents. And more often they are occurring
in combination with distracted driving. Unfortunately. Cracking down can be
difficult.
 

“These behaviours are…
transient in nature,” said Quaye. “They take place over a short period of time,
and then they’re over.”
 

The penalty for using a cell phone
while driving is $280 and 4 demerit points.
 

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