Distracted driving the focus in February

By MorinvilleNews.com Staff

Morinville – Local RCMP will have their eyes open for those drivers whose eyes are anywhere but on the road. Each month law enforcement throughout the province focus on an different aspect of traffic safety and February has been designated as distracted driving month under the Alberta Traffic Safety Plan.

Police will be stepping up their efforts to reduce the harm caused by distracted driving and to remind motorists the province’s new distracted driving law came into effect last September.

Morinville RCMP along with their law enforcement partners will be stepping up their efforts to reduce the harm cause by “distracted drivers”. Albertans are reminded that our province’s new distracted driving law came into effect September 1, 2011.

Under the new law drivers are not to use a hand-held cell phone, texting or e-mailing, or use any electronic device. That restriction extends to entering information into a GPS and reading printed materials while driving. Personal grooming is also frowned on under the new law and police will be on the lookout for such driving behaviours. Those caught could face a $172 fine for their offence.

The Morinville RCMP are reminding drivers driving in the winter is challenging enough with the unpredictable weather, reduced visibility and poor driving conditions. Adding distracted driving to the mix could have fatal consequences.

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  1. Okay, lets save the fanfare! Another “cash cow” is now on the block. As I drive into Edmonton from Morinville, I notice billboards and road side signs advertising everything from birth announcements to funeral homes! Note that every one of these signs requires a permit (read money to some form of government) to be allowed to post these signs. And now, because of this new law, every one of these signs is illegal as they are a distraction to drivers. Some of the signs in Edmonton are LED / LCD light displays that are so bright they are blinding! When can we expect them to come down in the interest of safety? Every advertisement by the roadside is designed to “catch our eye” which means taking our eyes off the road to read them! Win / win situation for the governments, revenue from roadside sign owner permits and revenue from drivers who are distracted while reading them. Oh, by the way, that sign on the highway that says “distracted driving law now in effect”, well that’s a distraction too!

    • By that logic so too are speed signs. You may have just found another out for your photo radar. Your honour, I couldn’t look at the speed sign because I did not want to get a distracted driving ticket.”

  2. I do believe that the RCMP and other professional police officers will apply some common sense to this blitz. These things are only designed to draw attention and hopefully bring education to the problem. If you get tagged on this, chances are you’re an extreme case.

    Case and point: I almost killed a lady one day as she was leaving her favourite coffee shop with a bagel in one hand, her coffee in the other, and had her cell phone being held in place with her right shoulder. She was attempting to make a sharp right hand turn onto the main road when she lost control and drove straight out in front of me. I left a few feet of rubber on the road stopping only inches from her driver’s door, she wore the coffee.

    Because far too many drivers of this calibre exist, so does the need to start with more proactive law enforcement measures.

    For those of us who do our best to obey the posted traffic laws and be courteous to others, we need not fear being a cash cow supporter.

  3. I’m pretty sure distracted driving is aimed at those who are genuinely causing themselves to be distracted in some way, not those who take a quick peek at a sign on the side of the highway. You’re overreacting just a bit don’t you think Will?

    • Distracted driving charges were just laid in St. Albert to a guy that struck a pedestrian crossing the road. It is alleged he was texting.

      On my way home tonight a lady is drifting into my lane. So I lay on the horn to avoid having to hit the sidewalk or get my car scratched. She’s drifting into my lane because she’s trying to peel a banana while driving. But I’m the bad guy for laying on the horn and get this outraged face from her.

      Cash cow or not, a few self-centered, entitled Darwin award candidates getting a ticket or two won’t break my heart. Same goes for those who roll through stop signs.

      People obey the law when there is a fear of getting caught. The rest of the time they just do as their entitled old selves want to do. Stuff like scowling at the guy who dared to interrupt their drive home banana peeling.

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