REGINA -- Like most parents, Tenille Lafontaine’s days are busy with running kids to activities, which means there are many distractions going on while she’s behind the wheel throughout the day.
“I’ve got food, I’ve got coffee, but we need to wake up and we need to be aware and we need to pull over and maybe not have so many things on the go,” Lafontaine said.
Lafontaine was one of four local influencers who had the opportunity to take part in SGI’s Distracted Driving Race, which allowed them and the media to see the dangers of distracted driving first hand while racing around the RCMP track on Tuesday.
The drivers had to attempt to send a text, make a phone call, take a selfie and eat a burger while navigating their way through a course of pylons.
“What we’re trying to demonstrate is that distracted driving is hard and it’s much harder to safely and efficiently operate a motor vehicle while your attention is divided,” SGI’s Tyler McMurchy said.
Despite hefty fines, distracted driving continues to be a major issue in Saskatchewan with about 1,000 tickets issued each month over the past four months.
According to SGI, the province is looking at increasing fines to help deter distracted driving, which last year led to more than 6,000 collisions, resulting in more than 700 injuries and 22 deaths.
“Distracted driving is a real danger,” said Cpl. Mark Skinner, a police driving unit instructor at RCMP Depot. “It’s certainly something that kills, serious injury and death collisions occur because of distracted driving, so the biggest message here is to put the phone down and drive.”
After racing around the track, Lafontaine said she’ll be more aware while driving going forward.
“We heard a dragging sound and then I realized there was more than one pylon dragging under my vehicle, so that was scary,” she said. “We can laugh about it now, about how funny it is, but we’ve got kids and animals and everybody else out on the road too, so we need to be very aware and alert when driving.”
A message to “Just Drive” is something that these motorists plan to take away with them the next time they hit the road.