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Saskatchewan drivers speeding less — is coronavirus the cause?

Saskatchewan drivers speeding less, is COVID-19 the cause?
WATCH: SGI says drivers in Saskatoon and across the province have been getting fewer speed infractions in 2020.

More drivers in Saskatchewan appear to be following the speed limits than in previous years.

According to statistics provided to Global News by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), the number of speeding infractions across the province between January and June dropped greatly compared to the same period last year.

Read more: Saskatoon police impound Maserati, BMW after alleged street race

According to SGI’s website, there were 5,602 vehicles caught exceeding the limit last year through the first six months in Saskatoon. That number decreased to 2,411 this year during the same time frame. Of those, 95 exceeded the limit by 35 to 50 km/h in 2020, down from 138 in 2019.

Drivers caught speeding face fines and/or having their vehicle seized by police.

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According to SGI’s traffic safety spotlights webpage, numbers in the province also saw a drop in that six-month period as 41,927 infractions were tallied last year, falling to 25,473 this year.

“Speeding is still one of the big four in Saskatchewan along with distracted, impaired driving and not wearing a seatbelt when it comes to injuries and fatalities on our roads,” said SGI communications co-ordinator Jennifer Sully.

“We really want people to keep in mind that speed limits are there for a reason.”

Read more: Slow down in construction zones or face a steep fine, SGI cautions

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Is there a reason for the huge drop in numbers?

In a statement to Global News, a Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson said closures to malls, schools and businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in less street traffic. She said all traffic unit members were redeployed to supplement patrol resources.

Sully says it’s important for drivers to adapt their speeds to road conditions no matter what season it is, even with the decrease in infractions.

“Speed limits are for ideal conditions,” Sully said.

“Yes, it is summer, but we are still going to be seeing summer storms. You don’t need to go 100 km/h on a 100 km/h strip if the conditions aren’t ideal.”

Read more: Saskatoon police charge 3 drivers for speeding 56 km/h over the limit

She says with the July traffic safety spotlight being work zones, drivers need to slow down in construction zones as many crews are out this time of year.

“We want people to be paying extra attention to those work zones. That area is the workers’ office. You wouldn’t want someone speeding through your office,” Sully said.

SGI said there were over 1,000 speeders caught during the 2019 campaign.

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Information on fines, penalties and up-to-date construction zones can be found on the SGI website.