For this month’s traffic safety spotlight, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) chose to get creative.
SGI manager of media relations Tyler McMurchy said they are using the 2006 comedic film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to convey the message that the road is not a racetrack.
“I’m a big fan of Will Ferrell, and one of the things that we want to always get across whenever we do a focus on speeding is especially looking at those really egregiously bad speeding offences,” McMurchy said on Monday.
“We understand that there is a thrill … going fast is fun, but public roads are not racetracks and we want to remind people that making like Ricky Bobby on a real-life street is only going to increase your chance of getting into a very severe collision.
“We want to remind people that if you ain’t first … you’re fine, actually.”
SGI is using the Hollywood flare for April’s spotlight on speeding that includes a focus on street racing.
“We actually didn’t see a large number of speeding tickets issued during last April but you’ll recall that was kind of when things were very locked down in Saskatchewan (due to the COVID-19 pandemic),” McMurchy said.
“There were some examples where we saw anecdotal examples from law enforcement in various parts of the province talking about people having some really ridiculous examples of speeding and street racing happening.
“Some people take it to a more ridiculous extreme and for those folks, they should know … street racing gets you an automatic 30-day vehicle impoundment. It also can nullify your insurance coverage if you are in a collision as a result of street racing.”
McMurchy said there isn’t a high number of convictions on street racing in the province but over 100,000 speeding tickets are issued on an annual basis.
“It’s the most common (Traffic Safety Act) offence that we see,” McMurchy said.
“Speeding tickets get more expensive at 30 kilometres per hour over the limit and at 50 km/h over the limit, you’re looking at an automatic one-week vehicle impoundment.
“Those speeding tickets escalate as you accelerate. So the faster you go, the more you’re paying.”
According to SGI statistics, in 2019, 454 people were injured and nine were killed in Saskatchewan in collisions where speeding was a factor.
“The more pressing reason, though, of course, is the fact that when you are driving faster, you have less time to react,” McMurchy said.
“Other road users won’t be expecting you to drive that fast and you’re more likely to cause a collision and the faster you’re going, the more severe that collision is going to be.”
With temperatures rising this spring, SGI advises motorists to take note of more people sharing the road, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
“April is a perfect time to roll (this spotlight) out because the roads are going to be a little bit busier as springtime opens up and people are going to be out and about enjoying the warmer temperatures and the fresh air,” McMurchy said.
“It is so very important to watch your speed to slow down, especially when you’re going to be sharing the road with these other folks who won’t have the benefit of a cage around them, essentially, in the event of a collision.
“So we need to look out for each other. We spent the last year doing that (because of COVID-19) and we need to do it for a bit longer.”
Throughout the month, police across Saskatchewan will be keeping a close eye on speeders.