Drive safe, and drive sober this summertime

The months of July and August are summer vacation time for many families, and many people will be heading out onto the road for trips to see family, friends or simply to enjoy a summer destination and see the country.
For many people, depending on the circumstances, of course, the journey is part of the fun if there’s a long drive involved, or if the purpose is to do some sightseeing along the way.
If there are loved ones waiting on the other end for a visit, or an important occasion (like a wedding, for example) to take in, the journey becomes a crucial part of the vacation — but the joy and happiness of these occasions will be marred if you never reach your destination.
Safe and sober driving are the keys to enjoying the trip, and enjoying the vacation time as a whole.
The stats on accidents in Saskatchewan would seem to bear this out, as does the thinking of the police agencies in the province, as a big part of their focus in July is keeping work zones safe. As most any driver knows, the summertime is road construction season, and this also needs to be factored in for anyone travelling with a time constraint.
Police will be keeping an eye on work zones in July, and some work zones will be monitored by photo radar. In 2018, there were nearly 1,500 convictions for speeding in work zones. That’s nearly 1,500 times drivers ignored reduced speed limits and put workers’ lives at risk.
Drivers are required to slow down to 60 km an hour, or the speed that’s posted, when passing a highway worker, flag person or highway equipment with warning lights flashing.
If you exceed that speed limit by 20 km/h, you will be fined $440 — and if you go 40 km/h over, that will be more than doubled, to $1,008, not to mention the Safe Driver Recognition points you lose on your licence, which can affect your insurance rates down the road.
The other area of concern is impaired driving. The bad news is, Saskatchewan’s rate of impaired driving violations are among the highest in Canada. In 2017, the last year the statistics are available for, this province’s rate was 539 per 100,000 people with a total of 6,153 charges laid for impaired driving.
In rural areas, it’s even worse, as in Saskatchewan the rate of impaired driving was 939 incidents per 100,000 people, nearly double Alberta’s rate of 597 incidents per 100,000 in second place in Canada.
Speeding and driving while impaired are both killers on the highway, and puts others at risk besides yourself and those travelling with you. Take care, drive safe and sober, and ensure everyone can enjoy their summer vacation this year.

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