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Impaired and unbelted driving a deadly duo

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Impaired driving is the leading factor in automobile fatalities in Saskatchewan … but in many of those tragic deaths, it’s not the only factor.

Did you know more than one-third of impaired driving deaths also involve someone not wearing their seatbelt? Over the last five years, a total of 172 people have been killed in impaired driving collisions on Saskatchewan roads. In 60 of those cases, people were also not properly restrained in their vehicles.

“Driving impaired is dangerous, and not wearing a seatbelt is reckless; unfortunately, where you find one, you often find the other,” said Kwei Quaye, SGI Vice-President of Traffic Safety. “The combination significantly compounds the risk of a bad outcome, because driving impaired greatly increases the chance you’ll be in a crash and being unbelted increases the chance the crash will kill you.”  

For the June Traffic Safety Spotlight, SGI and police want to remind drivers that road safety comes down to making good decisions, like:    

·         Always driving sober. 

·         Planning a safe ride if you’re not going to be sober (i.e. designating a driver, or taking a taxi, rideshare, or designated driving service.) 

·         Buckling up. Every time.  

·         Never getting into a vehicle with a driver who is impaired.  

·         Helping impaired friends find a safe ride home or letting them stay the night.  

·         Calling 9-1-1 to report suspected impaired drivers. 

“Driving while under the influence can lead to a litany of bad decisions – including not buckling up,” said St. Sgt. Chad McLeod of Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan/Saskatchewan RCMP. “When you’re impaired, you’re not making sound decisions and have no business being behind the wheel of a vehicle. Our plea to the public is this: Please don’t become a statistic. We don’t want to be going to your family’s door one day to tell them that you’re never coming home again. Drive sober, drive safe – or plan a safe ride home – and don’t break the good habit of wearing your seatbelt each time you get in a vehicle.”

Aside from the potentially fatal outcome of a crash, being caught driving impaired results in a host of consequences that include licence suspensions, vehicle impoundments, financial penalties, driver education, a requirement to install and use Ignition Interlock, and the potential for a criminal record and incarceration. A ticket for not wearing a seatbelt costs the recipient $175, plus three demerit points.