There were roughly 8,300 collisions in Saskatchewan during 2016 in which distracted driving was a factor.
The numbers from SGI also found that fatalities, injuries and collisions have increased in each of the last three years due to distracted drivers.
“Drivers are still not getting the message,” Saskatoon police Supt. Brian Shalovelo said.
“If you are in control of a vehicle, anything that takes your attention away from the road is dangerous.”
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Shalovelo said distracted driving goes beyond drivers using their cellphones or texting and driving.
“If someone says they were picking up a CD on the floor when they lost control, that is distracted driving. Changing the radio station, smoking a cigarette, reading a map or your mail – these are all examples of how a driver can be distracted,” Shalovelo said.
“We’ve even seen people watching Netflix while driving.”
Fines for distracted driving are $280 along with four demerit points.
A second violation within a year can result in a vehicle being impounded for seven days.
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“The message is simple: put the phone away and encourage your friends and family to do the same,” Earl Cameron, the executive vice-president of SGI’s auto fund, said.
“Put it out of reach in your glove box, zip it up in your purse and put it in the back seat, or mount it on your dashboard and use it hands-free if you’re an experienced driver.”
“We all have a responsibility to make safe choices behind the wheel.”
Regina police Chief Evan Bray said the average vehicle weighs over four-thousand pounds, which can be lethal in a collision.
That is two tons of comfort and convenience to get you to your destination…or its two tons of steel and glass that can take your life, or someone else’s, if you lose control,” Bray said.
“Is there any text message, photo or music selection in the world that could be more important than a human life?”
Saskatchewan changed its distracted driving laws at the beginning of the year, making it illegal to even hold a phone while driving, or stopped at a red light.
The law was also changed to make it illegal for learner and novice drivers to use a cellphone hands-free in a vehicle.