In today’s world, technology causes us to become more distracted behind the wheel than ever before. Many distractions exist while driving, but cell phone usage ranks at the top of the list. Think of how many alerts, texts, e-mails, calls, and voicemail messages you receive in a given day on your phone; now, imagine looking down at your phone at each of these notifications while you’re driving. Your eyes instantly are taken off the road and your environment. Even in one second, the road ahead of you can change.
In 2014, there were more than 3,300 collisions in Saskatchewan related to distracted driving. It is the top contributing factor in all collisions, and the third contributing factor in fatal collisions, following impaired driving (first) and speeding (second).
Distracted driving is becoming a more common and serious cause of fatal car accidents among teenage drivers. In fact, according to Steve Wallace of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island, he claims that “Texting … will quickly become in Canada the chief cause of death behind the wheel for teens.”
Distracted driving is preventable
- leave your phone alone and minimize potential distractions before you head out on the road.
- plan your route and secure your pets.
- keep your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.
- Even the sound of an incoming email or text can be distracting; turn off your phone and put it out of reach.
Using a hand-held cellphone while driving is prohibited in Saskatchewan for:
- making or receiving phone calls
- sending, receiving or reading text messages
- sending, receiving or reading emails
- surfing the Internet
- using 10-4 “push to talk” technology
In Saskatchewan, two or more convictions (within a 12-month period) for using electronic communication devices while driving will result in a seven-day vehicle impoundment, regardless of who the vehicle owner is. The penalty for using a cellphone while driving is $280 (which includes a victims’ surcharge of $60) and 4 demerit points under the Safe Driver Recognition and the Driver Improvement Program.
As a licensed driver, safe driving should be the main focus anytime you get in your vehicle. Keep your eyes on the road—it can save a life!