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Monthly record set in Saskatchewan for distracted driving tickets

Police forces across Saskatchewan handed out a record number of distracted driving tickets during October, SGI reported Monday. File / Global News

As Saskatchewan prepares to increase fines for distracted driving, the province’s Crown insurance company said a new monthly record was set for distracted driving.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) said on Monday that 1,290 drivers in the province were ticketed in October for distracted driving — 1,148 of those for using a cellphone while driving.

SGI said the previous record for a single month was 1,039.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan distracted driving fines to more than double in 2020

The Saskatchewan government announced last week that fines for distracted driving will be increasing in the new year.

Starting Feb. 1, 2020, tickets will start at $580 for a first offence, plus four demerit points. The current fine is $280.

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The fine for a second offence within a year will jump to $1,400, while a third offence within a one-year period will result in a $2,100 fine. Both will also result in the vehicle being seized for seven days.

“To be clear, nothing has changed about what constitutes driving without due care and attention, or to the law restricting cellphone use while driving,” SGI said in a statement.

“The majority of distracted driving tickets are issued to people who use their phones while driving.”

READ MORE: ANALYSIS — Tougher penalties alone likely won’t curb distracted driving

SGI said distracted driving is a leading cause of safety concerns on the province’s roads and highways.

It was a factor in 22 fatalities in 2018, and 788 injuries, and played a role in over 6,000 collisions during the year, SGI said.

Police also issued 324 impaired driving tickets during the month, including 283 criminal code charges, 6,583 tickets for speeding or aggressive driving, and 387 tickets for improper seatbelt or child restraint use.

Click to play video: 'SGI highlights the danger of distracted driving' SGI highlights the danger of distracted driving
SGI highlights the danger of distracted driving – Oct 1, 2019

WIth files from David Baxter

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