REGINA — Saskatchewan’s Crown-owned insurance company is reporting a sharp drop in impaired driving deaths.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance says preliminary data shows 39 people died in crashes involving alcohol or drugs in 2017 compared to 57 the year before.
SGI credits three factors for the encouraging statistics; more police enforcement, tougher penalties and increased awareness.
Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for SGI, says the numbers suggest attitudes and behaviours about impaired driving are changing in the province.
In 2015, a Statistics Canada report showed Saskatchewan had the highest rate of police-reported impaired driving in Canada.
SGI says despite the improvement impaired driving remains a serious concern, especially with the pending legalization of recreational marijuana this summer.
“The fact that we’re seeing fewer collisions, injuries and fatalities attributed to impaired driving has us cautiously optimistic,” Hargrave said in a release Thursday.
Hargrave says Saskatchewan has taken a zero-tolerance approach to drug-impaired driving.
Legislation introduced last fall is expected to pass in the coming weeks.
The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the downward trend in impaired driving deaths in Saskatchewan shows how stronger laws and raising awareness can affect what people do behind the wheel.
The Canadian Press
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