What Is Accounting For The Large Increase In Distracted Driving Claims In Alberta?

For the past two years, claims for distracted driving in Alberta have climbed by 58 percent despite new harsh penalties. According to Aviva Canada, this is compared to a 23 percent increase nationwide and a 12 percent increase in Ontario. So why such an increase in Alberta?

Younger Population

It is surmised that our younger driving population could account for our higher than average claims. Our younger population may be more prone to using electronic devices in the car despite our harsh penalties. Regardless, Aviva Canada says the bulk of their claims are due to distracted driving and this is hitting our population with higher premiums across the board. Despite our increased fees and demerit points instituted in 2016, it seems as if these are not enough deterrents when it comes to technology while driving. In fact, Sgt. Dale Seddon of the Calgary Police Service Traffic Section has called it an “epidemic”.

Penalties Aren’t Working

Although the number of tickets for distracted driving declined over the past year, it doesn’t appear that it has translated to better behaviour. It’s clear that penalties alone are not enough to do the trick. As Sherwood Park injury lawyers, we see the trend moving at an alarming rate. According to Sgt. Seddon, “People need to come to the realization that distracted driving causes all the damage, all the lives lost, and all the hurt in society that impaired driving causes.”

So what are Alberta’s penalties when it comes to distracted driving? As of January 1, 2016, they increased to fines ranging from $127 to $287 with 3 demerit points. A cumulation of points can cause a driver to have their license suspended. Although these are widely regarded as stffl penalties, they have not been enough to cut down on behaviour.

What is Considered a Distraction?

According to our Traffic Safety Act, behaviours that qualify for distracted driving include:

● Using a hand-held cell phone
● Texting or emailing
● Using a laptop, video game, camera, video entertainment display or a portable audio player
● Entering information on a GPS device
● Reading any printed materials
● Writing, printing, or sketching
● Personal grooming

These distractions take your eyes and focus off the road and have been shown to have grave consequences for drivers, passengers, and other motorists on the road. In fact, according to IBC BAC, a distracted driver:

● Is 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision while texting and 4 more times while talking on a hand-held cell phone.
● May fail to see almost 50 percent of the available information in the environment.

A recent study showed that almost 80 percent of collisions and 65 percent of near-collisions involved some form of driver distraction.

Taking Personal Responsibility

Penalties are obviously not enough. It is important for all drivers to take personal responsibility for their own driving habits. Drivers must make more use of hands-free devices instead of hand-held ones and make a habit of pulling off the road to call or text. Is is up to all of us to keep our citizens safe on the road.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, let the Sherwood Park injury lawyers at BPCAB Personal Injury Lawyer help. Call us for a no-cost consultation to discuss how having a lawyer on your side can get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries after a distracted driving accident.