Strathcona County, Alberta - With everyone’s busy schedules distracted driving seems to be a common occurrence on our roadways. Driving always requires your full attention. Distracted driving is similar to impaired driving as the driver’s judgement can be compromised when they are not fully focused on the road. Distracted driving can lead to reduced reaction time, impaired judgement and the possibility of injury or death to the driver, passengers and/or others on or along the roadway.
Strathcona County RCMP will charge drivers for these behaviours while driving: personal grooming; using handheld electronic devices including cell phones; texting; writing or sketching; reading printed materials; entering information on GPS devices; and allowing a person, animal, or thing to impede their safe operation of the vehicle, which includes rowdy passengers, dogs on laps, and large items hanging from the rearview mirror.
Many people are still checking their phone at stop lights. This interferes with driving as people may be unaware of the regular flow of traffic, changing lights, pedestrians taking extra time to cross the street, or impeding traffic while you’re looking down at your phone.
Between September 1, 2011 when Alberta’s distracted driving law came into effect and March 31, 2017, there were 139,579 convictions, with 97 per cent of those being for using hand-held electronic devices while driving.
The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $287 fine and three demerit points.
“As a driver, you play a large part in ensuring our roads are safe,” says Cpl. Shayne Gudmundson of the Strathcona County RCMP. “The message is very simple: don’t increase your chance of being involved in a collision. Instead, put the cell phone down and focus on the road.”