Longer roadside suspensions in Sask. for impaired drivers transporting kids

Saskatchewan government increasing roadside suspensions for impaired drivers with children in the vehicle.
Saskatchewan government increasing roadside suspensions for impaired drivers with children in the vehicle. File / Global News

Impaired drivers with children in their vehicles will be facing longer roadside suspensions.

The Saskatchewan government introduced legislation Thursday that would give an immediate seven-day driving suspension to drivers who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 or higher and have a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan eyes up Uber in order to prevent impaired driving

The first-time suspension would also apply to drivers who refuse to undergo or fail a roadside test.

The current suspension is three days for a first offence.

Repeat offenders face harsher suspensions.

A second offence would result in a 30-day suspension, up from 21 days. Suspensions for a third offence would increase to 120 days from the current 90 days.

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New drivers already face a license suspension of up to 18 months for a third offence.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Taxi Cab Association proposes ‘flex-service’ taxis for Saskatoon

Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), said this is another step in the fight against impaired driving.

“Impaired driving is always a terrible choice, but willfully putting children at risk deserves additional penalties,” Hargrave said in a statement.

Vehicle seizures will also increase: seven days for a first offence, 30 days for a second offence, and 60 days for a third offence.

The owner of the vehicle will be responsible for all towing and impound costs.

The government is also looking to have the look-back period for impaired driving penalties extended to 10 years from the current five-year period.

The increase would allow SGI to administer harsher penalties for repeat offenders.

READ MORE: Drunk driving charges are the highest in Saskatchewan

Other proposed changes to the Traffic Safety Act include allowing law enforcement to issue an indefinite administrative suspension and updating the rules for slowing to 60 km/h when passing highway equipment to include stopper snow plows with flashing lights.

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The changes still need to pass in the legislature.

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