Distracted driving will soon come with much heavier penalties, especially if you are a repeat offender (within 12 months of the first offence). According to The Traffice Safety Act, Distracted Driving is defined as: “No driver shall hold, view, use or manipulate electronic communications equipment (cell phone) while driving a motor vehicle on a highway,” (Section 241.1(2)) or “No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway without due care and attention.” (Section 213 (1)).
As of February 1, 2020, a first offence for distracted driving will be a $580 ticket plus four demerits, a second offence (within a year of the first offence) will cost you $1,400 plus an additional four demerits, plus your vehicle being immediately seized and impounded for seven days. You will be responsible for the cost of towing and impound fees (approximately $400 minimum). A third offence within 12 months of the first conviction gets really pricey with a $2,100 ticket, four more demerits and another vehicle seizure of seven days. Keep in mind the demerits can cost you additional penalties - $50 for every point below zero on the SGI Safe Driver Recognition scale. This is up from the current ticket cost of $280 plus four demerits, with vehicle impounding for repeat offences.
Cell phone use while driving in Saskatchewan that involves holding, viewing or manipulating a hand-held cellphone or mobile device is prohibited. If you are an experienced driver (no longer in the Graduated Driver Licensing program), you may use hands-free cellphones activated with voice commands or one-touch and are mounted on the visor, dashboard, or in a cradle. But distracted driving does not only mean cell phone use - it can include common distractions such as adjusting the radio, eating or drinking, grooming, smoking, or being distracted by other people or pets in the vehicle or something happening outside of the vehicle.
Driving distracted is one of the major reasons for vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities in Saskatchewan. It’s not worth it - keep your phones and any other distractions put away and pay attention while you are driving! Do your part to help keep everyone safer on the road.