More Saskatchewan drivers caught texting than ever before

More Saskatchewan drivers caught texting than ever before

Hundreds of Saskatchewan residents were caught red-handed for using a cellphone while driving in March: the most ever in one month.

SGI's monthly traffic safety spotlights began in 2014, but last month took the cake for the most distracted driving tickets. In March, 523 tickets were issued, including 82 for driving without due care and attention, and 441 for driving while using, holding, viewing or manipulating a hand-held cellphone.

By the numbers

During March, officers were also watching for speeders, people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, improper use of seatbelts, and families not having their child passengers in the appropriate child safety seat.

So far this year, these violations have totalled:

- 4,532 for speeding and aggressive driving.

- 318 for impaired driving.

- 453 for improper seatbelt use and child safety seats.

Based on 2015 data, distracted driving was the leading contributor to crashes in Saskatchewan. It was also just behind impaired driving for contributing to the most fatal crashes.

In January, distracted driving laws in Saskatchewan were strengthened and went from applying to "using" a hand-held cellphone to "using, viewing, holding or manipulating" one.

Learner and novice drivers are not allowed to use a cellphone of any kind — not even hands-free. Experienced drivers can use hands-free phones if they are activated with voice commands or one-touch, and are mounted.

If you do have to use your phone on the go, SGI recommends you invest in a hands-free device.

"It'll pay for itself considering the fine for breaking the cellphone law is $280," SGI said in a news release. "On your second offence in one year, your vehicle is also impounded for seven days."