Alberta is the latest province to take a more aggressive stance against distracted driving. Any day now, a new law will come into effect increasing fines for distracted drivers from $172 to $250 with the addition of three demerit points.
Calgary-East MLA Moe Amery has been adamant about the passing of the private member's bill—Bill 204—since he introduced it in December. Distracted driving remains a problem in Alberta, as it does throughout Canada, despite distracted driving laws that extend to include not only the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving, but personal grooming, writing, reading and various other distractions.
In 2014, there were 25,913 convictions for distracted driving in Alberta, of which 96 per cent were for the use of a hand-held electronic device while driving.
Bill 204 received unanimous support at its third passing last week, and has been backed by police chiefs in Edmonton and Alberta. It is Amery's hope the Bill will help save lives.
Distracted Driving in Canada
Cracking down on distracted driving is becoming serious business and for good reason. Alberta Transportation says distracted drivers are three times more likely to get into a crash than alert drivers. It is estimated that driver inattention contributes to 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
In February, Nova Scotia increased its fines and added four demerit points on all convictions, while Ontario is currently sitting on a bill to increase fines to up to $1,000 and three demerit points.
- Related Read: Nova Scotia to Increase Penalties for Distracted Drivers
The Ontario Provincial Police has been rolling out campaigns for months to help raise awareness and end an epidemic that is killing more people on the roads than speeding and impaired driving. The OPP estimates that distracted driving will become the number one killer on the roads in Canada by 2016. It's already the most fatal form of driving in Ontario and British Columbia.
Distracted Driving and Your Auto Insurance
If distracted driving is found to have played a role in a collision, drivers can be charged with careless driving as well. This has serious implications on your driving record and your auto insurance premiums. Put the phone down to keep your rates low and the roads safe. A phone call or text is not worth becoming a statistic.