New year, new laws

Stricter impaired driving regulations coming into effect

As of 12:01 on Jan. 1, Saskatchewan’s new impaired driving laws will come into effect.

The law lowers the provincial blood alcohol limit to 0.04. If you’ve had a few drinks and are driving, if you blow 0.04 or higher, your vehicle can be impounded for three days.

In addition, there will be zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol for all drivers aged 21 or younger and all new drivers, and ignition interlock devices will be mandatory for any drivers who register a blood alcohol content of .1 or greater, or who refuse to provide a breath sample. For a first offence, the device will be installed for two years, for a second offence, five years, and for a third or subsequent offence, 10 years.

The new, stricter regulations were passed by the Saskatchewan Party this year. It was Prince Albert Carlton MLA and Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave who introduced the regulations at the legislature.

Hargrave believes the new rules are a positive change for the province.

“This is a good thing,” Hargrave said when reached by phone Friday.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the province. We have a very high number of impaired drivers. We lead the country. We have to bring that down, but the most important thing we have to bring down is the number of injuries and the number of deaths.”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, Saskatchewan 575 impaired driving incidents per 100,000 population, a rate considerably higher than any other province Alberta ranked next at just over half of Saskatchewan’s at 314 per 100,000 population.

For more on this story, please see the Dec. 31 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.