Letter: February is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

In conjunction with the Alberta Traffic Safety Action Plan the Morinville RCMP and its law enforcement partners will be focusing its attention on distracted drivers.

As everyone should now know distracting driving in Alberta now carries a $287 fine along with 3 demerit points upon conviction. Registered owners of vehicles can also be levied the $287 fine for distracted driving.

Distracted driving is defined as the diversion of attention from driving as a result of the driver focusing on a non-driving object, activity, event or person. This diversion reduces awareness, decision-making or performance leading to increased risk of driver error and collisions.

  • Safety on Alberta roads is always our top priority.
  • We all have a stake in our efforts to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads. Government, law enforcement and the many traffic safety partners are working together to find solutions. Drivers also need to realize the importance of the role they play too.
  • It only takes a second and a collision can occur.
  • Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel – put your focus where it should be.
  • Multi-tasking while driving could prove to be a fatal error in judgment.
  • Distracted driving literally impairs your driving ability.

Facts to Know

  • Research indicates that driver distraction contributes to 20 to 30 per cent of all collisions.
  • Distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers.
  • A study of collisions involving distracted drivers found reaching for a moving object in the vehicle increased the risk of a collision or near collision by nine times; insects in the vehicle increased the risk by a factor of six; reading, applying make-up, and dialing a hand-held device tripled the odds, and listening and talking on a handheld device increased the risk by 1.3 times.
  • Music volume should not be so loud that you cannot hear the sounds your vehicle makes, emergency vehicle sirens, or the ringing bells of trains when approaching a railroad crossing.
  • Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts drivers from:
    • using hand-held cellphones
    • texting or e-mailing
    • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays, and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
    • entering information on GPS units
    • reading printed materials in the vehicle
    • writing, printing or sketching and personal grooming

    Drivers that exhibit what is deemed to be more serious or risky behaviors could be charged with “driving carelessly” under the Traffic Safety Act. The penalty for driving carelessly carries six demerit points and a fine of $543.

    Morinville RCMP is asking that the public, please take the above information seriously. Our hope is to have everyone travel our roadways in a safe and responsible manner.

    – Morinville RCMP

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