RCMP focus on distracted drivers this month

By Sheldon Spackman
February 2, 2018 - 2:56pm

Alberta Mounties are on the look-out for people looking at their phones while behind the wheel this month.

February is distracted driving month and according to provincial officials, research indicates driver distractions contribute to 20 – 30 per cent of all collisions, with distracted drivers three times more likely to be involved in a crash than attentive drivers.

Superintendent Gary Graham, officer in charge, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services says in a release that distracted driving is a real danger.

“As a driver, you play a large part in ensuring our roads are safe,” he explains. “The message then is very simple: don’t increase your chance of being involved in a collision. Instead, put the cell phone down and focus on the road.”

Alberta Transportation officials say distracted driving laws restrict motorists from using hand-held cell phones, texting or emailing even at a red light, using electronic devices, entering information on GPS units, reading printed materials in the vehicle, writing, printing or sketching and personal grooming.

The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is $287 and three demerit points.

Between September 1, 2011 when Alberta’s distracted driving law came into effect and March 31, 2017, there were 139,579 convictions, with 97 per cent of those being for using hand-held electronic devices while driving.

During 2016-2017, male drivers accounted for nearly two-thirds of all convictions, with men 22 – 34 having the highest conviction rates.

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