Distracted driving may be defined as driving while taking part in activities unrelated to the operation of the vehicle that distract the driver’s attention from the road. It has been proven that distractions seriously compromise the safety of all occupants of the subject vehicle, not to mention other drivers and pedestrians.
From September 1, 2011, the date that distracted driving legislation first was introduced in Alberta, through March 31, 2017, there were a staggering 139,579 convictions. Of those convictions, approximately 97% were related to the use of hand-held electronic devices (or cellular phones) while driving.
In Alberta, the distracted driving penalty is a $300.00 fine and 3 demerit points.
The law does not specifically restrict the following activities:
- Use of a cellular phone in hands-free mode as long as the driver is not holding the phone in his or her hand and it is activated by the user’s voice or single-touch;
- Use of an earphone as long it is used in a voice-activated or hands-free manner;
- Consumption of beverages such as water, soda or coffee;
- Eating snacks;
- Engaging in conversations with other passengers;
- Use of a portable audio player, but it must be set up before the driver begins driving;
- Calls to emergency services such as 911 using a hand-held cellular phone;
- Use of a two-way radio or hand-held radio (more commonly referred to as a CB radio) in circumstances where a driver must remain in contact with an employer or when it is necessary to escort an oversized vehicle or to participate in a search, rescue and emergency management situation;
- Permitting the following on the display screen:
– a GPS navigation system so long as it is affixed in the vehicle itself and it is programmed before the driver begins operating the vehicle or if the system is activated by voice. The driver can’t hold the unit in their hand or enter information manually while operating the vehicle;
– a system designed for collision avoidance;
-a device, gauge, system or instrument which provides information regarding the systems of the vehicle or the location of the vehicle;
-a system designed to dispatch vehicles for the purpose of transportation of passengers;
-a system for tracking based upon logistics which is designed to track vehicle location, goods delivery or driver status for commercial purposes;
-an interlock device on the ignition of the vehicle that are installed pursuant to alcohol-related offenses;
The Traffic Safety Act defines emergency vehicles as fire response units, police service vehicles, gas disconnection units and ambulances. Drivers of these emergency vehicles are allowed to use communication devices that are hand-held or other electronic devices only when they are acting within the scope of employment.
How To Minimize Distracted Driving
What can be done to reduce or minimize distracted driving? There are several widely accepted best practices that have been compiled which, if implemented, can and will help drivers cut down on unnecessary driver distractions.
- Do Not Multi-Task. Drivers must focus on doing only one thing while on the road and that is simply driving. They should steadfastly refuse to multi-task while operating their vehicle. This includes refusing to video chat, text, post on social media or any other activity related to the use of a cellular phone.
- Do not eat or drink while driving. A driver that is eating or drinking while driving can be a major distraction. Drivers should take the time to eat either before or after their trip. Whenever possible or necessary, drivers should make it a point to pull off of the road into a safe place to eat and then return to driving.
- Refrain from Complicated Tasks. Making use of all available technology, such as handless devices or voice-activated systems may appear to be safe but such systems are still very capable of distracting the attention of a driver from the road.
- Do Not Use a Phone While Driving. If it is absolutely necessary for a driver to make a phone call, they should pull over and exit the roadway to a safe place to make the necessary call. Even the use of a hands-free phone while driving can result in a motor vehicle accident. Statistics show that drivers remain distracted for up to 27 seconds following a phone call even if they are using a hands-free device.
- Properly Store Loose Items. Drivers should store any loose items in the appropriate compartments so they do not roll around the vehicle and cause distractions. If a driver reaches for a loose item, the results could be catastrophic.
- Make Any Necessary Adjustments Before Getting on the Road. Drivers should take the time to set all climate control, GPS, and sound systems before getting on the road. The same goes for the adjustment of seats and mirrors.
- Organize. If there is clutter all over the vehicle, distractions are sure to follow. Drivers should take the time to organize any documents and important paperwork and also properly store electronic devices before hitting the road.
- Keep Your Eyes on the Road. Drivers should – at all times – keep their eyes on the road and avoid the temptation to look at unique buildings or billboards designed to catch the eye. The overall recommendation is that drivers rotate their eyes every 2-3 seconds and scan their mirrors every 5-8 eight seconds.
- Grooming. Drivers should dress or groom at home, not while driving. This is one of the number one causes of accidents and is easy to avoid if properly focused upon.
- Do Not Drive Drowsy. Drowsy driving is a significant factor in over than 100,000 crashes every year. Drowsy driving impairs a driver’s execution in the same way that alcohol does. If you’re drowsy, you should immediately pull over to the side of the road.
CHOOSE ARROW DRIVING SCHOOL TO REDUCE DISTRACTED DRIVING
Arrow Driving school is the driving school in Edmonton of choice for drivers who want to take driving lessons as a way to cut down on and eliminate distracted driving. Driving lessons are recommended at Arrow since driving school in Edmonton as the best way to master the art of driving. Contact Arrow Driving School today at (780) 721-8282 or visit them online at https://www.thearrowdrivingschool.com.