Police forces across the province will be on the lookout for impaired drivers in Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s traffic spotlight for January.

SGI says it is focusing on both alcohol and drug-impaired driving since the legalization of marijuana in October.

New provincial legislation introduced in September included a zero-tolerance policy for drug-impaired driving. Federal laws now allow police to demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver.

“Prevention and deterrent is key,” said Insp. Corey Lindskog with the Regina Police Service. “People know we are out enforcing this and we can ask for a breath sample like that. That’s a message saying don’t drink at all. Plan a safe ride home and be responsible.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been lobbying for a change like this one and the group believes it will be effective in making roads safer.

“We actually expect to see a 20 per cent drop in the number of impaired drivers on our roads next year,” Michelle Okere with MADD said. “That ends up being 200 lives saved and 12,000 injuries prevented on our roads in Canada.”

According to SGI, impaired driving is still the leading cause of death on roads in Saskatchewan. Thirty-nine per cent of traffic fatalities involved impaired drivers in 2017.

Driving high comes with the same penalties as alcohol-impaired driving, including roadside suspensions, licence suspensions, criminal charges, vehicle seizures and mandatory enrollment in SGI’s Driving Without Impairment education program.