Beginning September 1, 2011, distracted driving became an offense in Alberta, carrying a fine and demerit points against the convicted party. But since then, distracted driving violations have not eased and the costs have been high, in not only money but in lives.
Alberta’s current distracted driving laws restrict a driver from
● Using a hand-held cell phone
● Texting or emailing
● Using any electronic device such as a laptop, camera, portable audio player or any entertainment display
● Entering information into a GPS device
● Reading any printed materials while in the vehicle
● Writing, printing, drawing
● Personal grooming
You can be charged with distracted driving even while sitting at a red light or even if your driving performance is not affected by the distraction. If a moving violation is committed, you will be charged both with distracted driving as well as the moving violation, ie. two tickets.
Recent studies have shown that, when it comes to distracted driving
● That a driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash when texting
● That a driver takes his or her eyes off the road 4.6 seconds per text. At 90 km/h, that is the length of an entire football field.
● That a driver is 4 to 5 times more likely to be involved in a crash while talking on the phone
● That about 26 percent of all automobile crashes involve some form of phone use
● That a driver can look at but fail to “see” up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment while using their cell phone
● That distracted driving has now surpassed impaired driving as a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents
Current research has also shown that conversations via cell phones prove to be more distracting than in-person, in-vehicle conversations.
When it comes to injury claims, as injury lawyers in Edmonton, we have seen the serious toll that distracted driving takes. Let’s consider a scenario.
If You Have Caused the Accident
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by your own distraction, fault will be apportioned accordingly. Your benefits decrease with the apportionment of your fault in the accident. Even if the other driver is partially to blame, your distraction will be considered when it comes time to decide benefits.
If you injured another person in the aforementioned scenario, that person has the right to take you to court for damages.
That is only your monetary cost. Consider the societal cost of distracted driving:
● The healthcare-related and lost productivity costs of traffic accident-related are approximated $10 billion annually.
● The economic and social consequences of crashes in Canada are estimated to be approximately $25 billion annually when you include both direct and indirect costs
Reduce Your Distractions
With these monetary costs and the costs to lives, it only makes sense that drivers would take precautions to reduce distractions while driving. But each year, we see accidents caused by distracted driving on the increase. If you have been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, call the personal injury lawyers at BPCAB Law. We offer no-cost initial consultations so you can understand your rights under the law.