Tuesday, 28 June 2011 15:11

Sneak peak at Alberta’s soon-to-be-enforced distracted driving law

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Prairie Post
Alberta Transportation recently unveiled the province’s new distracted driving law, which will come into effect Sept. 1.

In a press release, Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette stated, “This legislation is another step forward in our traffic safety efforts and an important addition to our overall traffic safety strategy. I am confident this new law, which is practical and enforceable, will help to keep Albertans safer while on the road and that’s something we can all support. We all have a role to play in traffic safety and I encourage Albertans to start practising safer driving habits today.”

To help Albertans prepare for the new law, a public education and awareness campaign will be rolled out to provide information about the new law and how to comply with it. Advertising will run in newspapers, radio and online.

As it currently stands, the new legislation will prohibit the use of hand-held cellphones and other electronic devices. Drivers can still use cellphones or radio communication devices, but only if they use them in a hands-free or voice-activated manner.

When escorting oversized vehicles, drivers may use a hand-held citizen’s band (CB) or two-way radio. CB radios can as well be used by individuals to contact their employer or to participate in search, rescue and emergency management situations.

The new law also prohibits reading, writing and personal grooming while driving.

In the press release, Art Johnston, MLA, Calgary-Hays and sponsor of the bill said during his 25-year career with the Calgary Police Service, he saw countless collisions and devastating consequences,

as the result of  distracted driving,

“I have been advocating for this legislation and am pleased to see Alberta’s new distracted driving law come into effect. I would like to thank law enforcement and our traffic safety partners for their support,” said Johnston.

Frank Oberle, solicitor general and minister of public security, stated, “This legislation gives law enforcement agencies in Alberta an additional tool to help make our roads safer. We are sending an extremely strong traffic safety message to motorists across the province: When you’re in your vehicle, your focus must be on driving.”

The cost to drivers violating the law is $172.

Several international studies show 20 to 30 per cent of all collisions involve driver distraction, and distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers.

For answers to frequently asked questions about

the new law, visit www.transportation.alberta.ca/ distracteddriving.htm.

The Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving) Amendment Act 2010 and accompanying distracted driving regulations are available at: http://www.qp.alberta.ca.

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