REGINA, SK – Saskatchewan plans to crack down on drivers of commercial vehicles who commit “high-risk driving offences.”
Proposed changes to the province’s Traffic Safety Act will strengthen penalties for drivers while also making it less complicated for business owners to get their vehicles released.
Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Don McMorris said a new three-day licence suspension is being proposed for the driver of a commercial vehicle who commits high-risk driving offences such as:
* cellphone use while driving (2nd offence within 12 months);
* exceed speed limit by more than 50 km/hr (1st offence);
* fail to stop for a peace officer (1st offence);
* exceed speed limit by more than double the speed (2nd offence within 12 months); and
* driving without due care or reasonable consideration (3rd and subsequent offence within 12 months).
The legislation is anticipated to be passed during the spring 2015 sitting of the provincial legislature.
Supporting regulations are also being put in place to provide an appeal process for early release of a commercial vehicle, taxi or farm vehicle in cases where the vehicle was seized due to the driving behaviour of the employee.
The following conditions must be met before the vehicle will be released:
* the driver (employee) at the time of the offence is not the owner of the vehicle;
* the owner can produce evidence that they have a written and communicated safety plan in place; and
* the owner had obtained a driver’s abstract within the previous 12 months for their employee.
Regulation changes are expected to take effect early January 2015.
These changes will apply only to commercial vehicle seizures due to the driving behaviour of an employee. They will not apply to personal-use vehicles, for example when someone loans their vehicle to a friend or family member. In that situation, the usual grounds for appeal still stand.
To apply for early release of a commercial or personal vehicle, the vehicle owner – be it a business or individual – may purchase an appeal receipt from any motor licence issuer for $100 and call the Highway Traffic Board to book a telephone hearing.
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