While Saskatchewan residents have been saving big on Christmas presents the last few days, the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is reminding motorists they could be saving year-round too.
That message certainly applies to the 896 distracted drivers caught across the province last month by law enforcement as part of SGI's Traffic Safety Spotlight focus for October.
Tyler McMurchy, the manager of media relations with SGI, said that figure is higher than normal, however, it's not overly surprising given police were paying extra attention to the driving infraction.
"The good news is the savings aren't limited to Black Friday, they extend through the weekend, through Cyber Monday, and all the way through the rest of the year those savings are still available to everybody who drives in the province of Saskatchewan if you don't want to pay $580 at least for a distracted driving ticket," he said. "Keep that phone out of your hand, that's where the majority of tickets are written."
Seven-hundred and fifty-six of the distracted driving tickets dolled out in the tenth month of the year were for cell phone use, leaving the remaining 140 handed out classed under-driving without due care and attention.
"That can encompass all those other behaviours... It doesn't mean you can't have a sip of coffee or eat from a bag of potato chips while you're driving," he said. "But you need to maintain control of that vehicle, your eyes and focus needs to be on the road and not on the food or the passenger in the backseat or fiddling with your radio or lighting a cigarette or anything else."
Not only will motorists avoid a hefty ticket if they avoid this type of driving behaviour, but they'll also significantly increase the chances of arriving safely at their destination. According to SGI distracted driving and inattention leads to one out of every five collision-related injuries, and more than one-quarter of fatalities on Saskatchewan roadways.
Law enforcement didn't turn their sole attention to distracted driving last month as they still issued 400 impaired driving offences (including 299 Criminal Code charges), 5,721 speeding and aggressive driving tickets, and 311 tickets for seatbelt and car seat offences.