What You Need To Know About Driving While Distracted In Alberta

Since distracted driving became a matter of the law in 2011, it has gotten a lot of attention. Whether it is texting or even changing a radio station, anything that takes focus away from the road is dangerous.

Distracted Driving Statistics

Distracted driving has now overtaken impaired driving as the number one cause of motor vehicle collisions and yet people still continue to use their electronic devices while driving. Current statistics show that:

Distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Today, distracted driving incidents make up to thirty percent of all collisions in Alberta.
Since 2011, the number of distracted driving convictions has quadrupled.
In 2017, there were nearly 25,000 convictions and we are ready to set new records in 2018.

The Financial Implications of Driving While Distracted

Over the years, the stakes have gotten higher for distracted drivers. In 2016, the government instituted a ticket hike of $287 with three demerit points on your license. Not only that but your insurance premiums will also be greatly impacted with each distracted driving conviction.

Insurance premium increases will vary by the company, but today, even one distracted driving conviction can increase your insurance premium by more than thirty percent, with added convictions upping premiums incrementally. Add a criminal charge and your premiums skyrocket. Not only is distracted driving a hazard on the roadway, putting your life at risk as well as others, but it is also a hazard to the wallet.

Current Restrictions

Currently, Albert restricts drivers from:

Using any hand-held cell phones
Texting or emailing, even while stopped at a red light
Utilizing any electronic device including laptops, video games or entertainment displays, cameras, or any portable audio players
Inputting information on GPS devices
Reading printed materials while driving
Writing while driving
Personal grooming while driving

Things That are Not Restricted

Although these are now considered distractions under the law, there are things that are not restricted as yet. You may still use a cell phone if it is used in hands-free mode and not being held in your hand. It must be voice activated or by a single touch. Listening to any portable audio player is allowed as long as it has been set up before the drive begins. Eating, drinking, and talking with passengers is allowed. Drivers who are required to stay in communication via two-way or hand-held radios for some specific situations are allowed.

Display screens are allowed when they belong to a GPS navigations system affixed to the car, a collision avoidance system, any gauges, instruments, or devices providing information about the vehicle, any transportation tracking system used for commercial practices, or any alcohol ignition interlock devices.

Put Away Your Devices

When you are behind the wheel of a car, put away your electronic devices. Not only is distracted driving dangerous but it’s the law. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact the Sherwood Park personal injury lawyers at BPCAB Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your legal rights.