On January 1, 2017, new changes to Saskatchewan’s drinking and driving laws will take effect. The changes include:
Zero tolerance for alcohol and/or drugs for drivers under 21 years of age and for all new drivers regardless of age. The 60 day immediate roadside suspension for a first offence also continues to apply to new drivers.
Experienced drivers with a .04-.08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on a 1st offence will be subject to a 3 day vehicle seizure.
The duration for which drivers will be required to use an ignition interlock device will also be changing. For experienced drivers with a BAC of .08-.159 or impaired, the duration for which an interlock ignition device must be used will increase to 3 years for a 2nd offence (from the previous 2 years) and to 10 years from 3rd and subsequent offences (from the previous 5 years). For experienced drivers with a BAC over .16 or who refuse to provide a breath sample, the ignition interlock device will be used for a duration of 2 years for a 1st offence, 5 years for a 2nd offence and 10 years for a 3rd and subsequent offence. For new drivers and drivers under the age of 21, the ignition interlock program will now be mandatory for a 3rd offence and will be for a duration of 1 year following completion of the 1 year licence suspension.
The remaining administrative penalties will continue unchanged.
In addition, Saskatchewan will be making changes to the current cellphone legislation which will now prohibit drivers from holding, viewing, using or manipulating a cellphone while driving. New drivers are prohibited from using cellphones whether hands-free or not. Experienced drivers will still be able to use hands-free cellphones if they are controlled by voice commands or one-touch, and are mounted on the dashboard, visor or cradle.