by Morinville News Staff
RCMP, Sheriffs and Peace Officers will be looking for those drivers that are looking at their phones this month.
Citing statistics that indicate distracted driving contributes to 20 to 30 per cent of all collisions, the provincial government is asking motorists to keep their eyes on the road and off their phones.
“Distracted driving is dangerous at any time,” Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation. “Drivers need to be aware of all traffic around them, including other vehicles and vulnerable road users. Please focus on driving – and driving, alone.”
Supt. Gary Graham, officer in charge, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services says distracted driving is a real danger. “As a driver, you play a large part in ensuring our roads are safe,” he said. “The message, then, is very simple: don’t increase your chance of being involved in a collision. Instead, put the cellphone down and focus on the road.”
Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts drivers from using hand-held cellphones, texting or e-mailing (even when stopped at a red light), entering information on GPS units, and reading printed materials in the vehicle.
The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is $287 and three demerit points.
There have been 139,579 convictions between the introduction of distracted driving laws on Sept. 1, 2011 and March 31, 2017. Ninety-seven per cent of the convictions were for using a hand-held electronic device while driving. Male drivers accounted for nearly two-thirds of all convictions between 2016 and 2017 with male drivers aged 22 to 34 years having the highest conviction rates.