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Sask. to ask rural drivers for physical addresses

Saskatchewan’s Crown auto insurer will ask drivers to voluntarily start using their physical addresses on their licenses, saying a farm’s legal land location will be of more help in an emergency than a P.O. box.

The request, coming as the province moves to a new one-piece driver’s license on Jan. 1, 2011, is expected to help Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) meet “international licensing standards.”

“While we’re asking for it on a voluntary basis, having a physical address listed on the driver’s licence is mandatory is B.C., Alberta and Manitoba,” Tim McMillan, provincial minister for SGI, noted in a release Friday. “It may also be beneficial for identification purposes for things like voting.”

Furthermore, “a physical address on a driver’s licence will assist emergency services to more efficiently locate the ‘at home’ emergency which may result in saving a life,” Chief Dale McFee of the Prince Albert Police Service said in the release.

“When a box number or a rural route address is used, it is of little value when trying to contact someone in emergency situations,” said McFee, who’s also president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police. “SGI, by requiring a physical address on a driver’s licence, is initiating a positive change.”

Customers can find their physical address on their property title or utility bills or get it through their rural municipality or band office, the province said.

Customers with a post office box now listed on their licenses will be asked for their physical address the next time they do business with SGI, but can contact the insurer sooner to make the change if they wish.

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