Cpl. Mike Bacqué,
RCMP South West Regional Traffic Services
Distracted driving has been identified as the top contributing factor for motor vehicle collision in Saskatchewan and responsible for 7500 collisions in 2012. (Source: SGI)
The most common example of distracted driving remains the use of a cellular phone while driving. Use of a cellular phone is defined as “to make a phone call, text, talk, email, or surf or access the Internet, or for any other prescribed purpose”. Make a phone call is further defined as “to make, answer or end a phone call, or to transmit or receive voice communication”.
Daily, police receive complaints about motorists weaving or near-miss collisions and many of these are suspected incidents of use of cellular phones while driving. Driving, by itself, requires sufficient multi-tasking skills to operate a motor vehicle without additional distractions. Unsecured pets, food consumption, reading or watching video are other common distractions which are to be avoided when driving. Given adequate driving evidence, a charge of driving without due care and attention can be pursued.
The penalty for either of these offences is $280 and includes four demerit points under SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition Program. Penalties aside, the potential loss of life, yours or others, for the sake of a communication or a lapse of proper judgment is simply not an outcome anyone would want to consider. Don’t make your last text message your epitaph.