When it comes to cellphone use by motorists, it appears many drivers in the City of Regina missed the memo, message, text or Tweet. Enforcement of the Province’s legislation, prohibiting cellphone use while driving, happens year-round in Regina, but it will get some extra attention during the month of August as the Regina Police Service Traffic Focus of the Month. Legislation banning the use of most cellphones while driving was introduced in Saskatchewan in January of 2010.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, section 241.1(1), drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cellphones while driving for: making or receiving phone calls; sending, receiving or reading text messages; sending receiving or reading e-mails; surfing the Internet; or using 10-4 “push-to-talk” technology. Experienced drivers may use hands-free cellphone devices, but new drivers under the Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program may not. All drivers may make a 9-1-1 call in an emergency and may make cellphone calls when parked on the side of the road. The penalty for using a cellphone while driving is $280.00, plus four demerit points under the Safe Driver Recognition and Driver Improvement programs. Statistics released at the most-recent meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners show that, so far in 2011, there have been 347 cellphone charges laid ( compared to 128 for the same period in 2010).
During August, patrol and traffic enforcement officers will be directing extra attention to detecting motorists who use cellphones while driving. The Regina Police Service encourages all motorists to focus on the act of driving, obey the laws and enhance safety for all users of our roadways.