Editorial: Distracted driving rule changes are a hoax

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook this year, you have seen an endless stream of posts telling you distracted driving rules are changing Feb. 1, 2020.

As of that date, you will not be able to eat or drink a coffee while driving lest you face huge fines and driving suspensions, or so the Facebook post goes.

Like much on social media these days, it’s a crock of … well, it’s a hoax.

Sadly, few are willing to take 10 seconds to Google its accuracy before sharing the nonsense.

A dead giveaway is the fact that distracted driving penalties are decided provincially, not federally. Know them before you travel.

It’s so prevalent that the Government of Alberta’s Distracted Driving page now carries the following Important Notice:

“Recently, false information has been circulating about supposed changes to Alberta’s distracted driving laws coming into effect on February 1. These rumours around new rules and stricter penalties are false. Alberta’s distracted driving laws and penalties are not changing at this time.”

So, for those unfamiliar with the rules, they can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/distracted-driving.aspx.

Penalties for distracted driving is a $287 fine and three points off your licence.

Ontario changed their rules earlier this year on January 1, and Saskatchewan will increase fines on Saturday. Please consult provincial rules when travelling but don’t look them up while driving.

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    • They should double here in Alberta as well – they are not. The current hoax making the rounds indicates an increase to $3,000 on a first offense across the country. It is false.

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