Over 900 novice drivers suspended for alcohol or drug charges in 2023:SGI

SGI Logo from sgi.sk.ca

SGI is alerting the public after a large number of novice drivers were suspended in 2023 for exceeding limits on alcohol and drugs.

According to SGI 982 new drivers who had their licence suspended last year for exceeding provincial limits on alcohol and drugs. New drivers make up just nine per cent of the licensed drivers in Saskatchewan, but accounted for more than 33 per cent of 2023’s impaired driving administrative suspensions.

SGI said that it is something taught in driver training but that lesson appears to have been lost.

“This isn’t about spoiling anyone’s good time; it’s about reminding all drivers, including new ones, that you’ve always got options to find a safe ride home,” said JP Cullen, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “Choosing not to drive impaired will keep you safe and keep you out of trouble.”

A new driver is classified as anyone who is in the Graduated Driver Licensing program or is age 21 and under. Experienced drivers – people who are 22 years old or older and are no longer a Learner or Novice – cannot legally drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) above .04. All drivers are subject to the province’s zero tolerance laws for drug-impaired driving.

Police officers have access to roadside testing devices for both alcohol and drugs. A positive result on either means a new driver will lose their license for at least 60 days, and the vehicle they were driving will be immediately impounded for three days. Administrative roadside suspensions also come with requirements to attend a mandatory impaired driver education course and four demerits under the Safe Driver Recognition program. Consequences increase for repeat offences.

February Traffic Safety Spotlight results

For the month of February, police across Saskatchewan reported 449 impaired driving offences, including 171 Criminal Code charges and 278 administrative suspensions, 440 tickets for distracted driving, including 372 for using a cell phone while driving, 245 occupant restraint tickets for not wearing a seatbelt, or not having children in the proper car seat or booster and 3,694 tickets for other speeding or aggressive driving offences.