Defining Distracted Driving
- Using your mobile phone
- Texting (this includes when stopped at a red light)
- Using any other electronic devices, including laptops, gaming devices, cameras, and mp3 players
- Typing information into a GPS
- Reading, writing, printing or sketching
- Any personal grooming, like applying makeup, shaving, and flossing teeth.
- Eating and drinking
- Speaking with your passengers
- Using a phone hands-free
More than a fineAs stated above, drivers in Alberta caught driving while distracted will be hit with a fine and demerit points. The impact of distracted driving, however, can go far beyond a simple ticket. According to the Calgary Herald, in the past two years, Alberta has seen an unbelievable 58% rise in distracted driving accidents – the biggest increase in all of Canada. This means that despite the increased fine associated with distracted driving, more Albertans than ever are risking their own safety and the safety of other drivers by failing to give the road their full attention. A distracted driver is 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident, which is why distracted driving is rapidly becoming even more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. In the event of an accident, a ticket is the least of your worries.
What can you do?
- Plan in advance: Program your GPS, answer your texts, and make any necessary phone calls before you leave home. That way, you’ll be less likely to have a pressing distraction from your electronic devices while you’re travelling.
- Autoreply: Set up an automatic response text or email that tells the person contacting you that you’re busy and that you’ll get back to them when it’s safe.
- Avoid complicated foods and beverages: While it isn’t technically against the law to eat and drink while you’re driving, complex packaging, takeout bags, and messy foods can be distracting enough to cause an accident. Stick with small snacks if you must eat while driving.
- Make yourself comfortable: Be sure to adjust your seat, mirrors, and AC before setting out, so you won’t need to adjust them en route.