Police say distracted driving increasing carnage on Alberta’s highways


by Morinville News Staff

Edmonton – Crotches Kill is the message RCMP and their traffic safety partners have been putting out in February as part of their focus on distracted driving. Online advertising, billboards and radio ads have been playing off the fact many motorists are still texting with their phones hidden in their laps. The campaign encourages motorists to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.

Though the campaign may be a bit of double entendre black humour, the matter of distracted driving is a serious one for RCMP, Alberta Sheriffs and Community Peace Officers. Alberta police say they are seeing more and more crashes resulting from distracted driving, an increase in collisions despite increased education initiatives from the government and police.

“Even with all this information going out, some drivers are still not getting the message,” said Superintendent Howard Eaton, Officer-in-Charge for RCMP “K” Division’s Traffic Services in a release Feb. 10. “We are still attending crashes caused by driver inattention, and we still see people talking on the phone, texting or even watching movies.”

Eaton’s comments are timely. In early January a 28-year-old Edmonton man was accused of watching a movie on a laptop while driving on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway during a snowstorm.

Superintendent James Stiles of the Alberta Traffic Sheriffs agrees the frequency of distracted driving is both dangerous and troubling. “Driving is a full time responsibility,” he said. “It demands all your attention, and when you give it less than your full attention, it can have devastating consequences for you and others who share the road with you.”

Alberta’s Integrated Traffic Services, made up of Alberta Traffic Sheriffs and RCMP Traffic members will continue to focus their efforts on distracted driving laws this month. The current fine for distracted driving is $172; however, those caught driving distracted could be eligible for other fines and charges, particularly in the instance of a series or fatal collision.

For more information on distracted driving legislation visit transportation.alberta.ca/distracteddriving.htm.

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