November 02, 2017

Tougher Consequences for Impaired Drivers Who Transport Children

Longer Roadside Licence Suspensions, Vehicle Seizures if Kids Under 16 in Vehicle

Drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 or higher who transport children will face even longer roadside licence suspensions and vehicle seizures under legislation introduced today.

The Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2017 implements an immediate seven-day administrative driving suspension on a first offence for a person who transports a child under the age of 16 and has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 or higher, refuses to undergo a field sobriety test or fails a field sobriety test.  This is an increase from the current three-day roadside suspension.  This is in addition to any jail sentence, fine, demerit points and additional sanctions that result from the impaired driving conviction.

“Impaired driving is always a terrible choice, but willfully putting children at risk deserves additional penalties,” Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Joe Hargrave said.  “This legislation is another tool in our government’s fight against Saskatchewan’s impaired driving problem.”

Under the new legislation, repeat offenders who transport passengers under the age of 16 will face even more severe consequences.  Licence suspensions for a second offence increase to 30 days from 21, while a third offence triggers a 120 day suspension, up from the current 90.  New drivers already face licence suspensions of up to 18 months on a third offence.

Impaired drivers who transport children will also have their vehicles seized for longer periods.  First-time offenders will have their vehicles seized for seven days (up from three).  That increases to 30 days for a second offence (previously seven) and to 60 days for a third (previously 14).

Vehicle owners are responsible for all towing and impounding costs, and the changes to the length of vehicle seizures will apply to both experienced and new drivers.

Other notable changes in The Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2017 include:

  • Extending the look-back period for impaired driving penalties to 10 years from five, which allows SGI to administer harsher penalties for repeat offenders.
  • Allowing law enforcement to issue an indefinite administrative suspension: this change will make the roadside consequences for those charged with impaired driving under the Criminal Code consistent with those charged with exceeding .08 BAC and refusing to comply with a demand: blood draw, breath sample, Standard Field Sobriety Test or evaluation by a Drug Recognition Evaluator.
  • Updating the rules for slowing to 60 km/hr on highways when passing highway equipment including snow plows that are stopped with lights flashing to be consistent with rules for passing emergency vehicles and tow trucks.