Distracted driving law comes into effect Sept. 1

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  • Aug. 31, 2011 8:00 a.m.

September will be a busy time for Alberta’s Integrated Traffic Units.

On Sept. 1, the province’s distracted driving legislation comes into force, students will make their way back to school and then the Labor Day long weekend will take place.

RCMP and sheriff traffic units will be stationed at key locations to remind Ponoka motorists good decisions surrounding safe driving habits, obeying school zone speed limits and responsible alcohol use can save lives and reduce injuries on provincial roadways.

“Every day our integrated traffic officers are on the roads with a focus on driver behavior that poses risk for themselves and other Albertans,” said Alberta sheriff’s superintendent Rick Gardner. “Distracted driving legislation will assist our officers in effectively dealing with distracted driving which is one of the causes of motor vehicle collisions.”

“Motorists should be vigilant when driving but especially now with the upcoming school year fast approaching. Attentive driving especially around schools, the safe use of alcohol and good decisions this Labor Day weekend is everyone’s responsibility. It is hoped our efforts will lead to alert, safe and sober driving.”

Distracted driving law

Under the new law, drivers will be prohibited from talking, texting or emailing on a hand-held cellphone, using hand-held radio communication devices, using other electronic devices, reading, writing or personal grooming while behind the wheel.

“Alberta’s new distracted driving law is a good addition to our overall strategy to keep Albertans safer while on the road,” said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette. “We want all drivers to practice safe driving habits to ensure we all return home safely at the end of each day.”

Drivers who break the law will be fined $172. They can face additional charges if they commit other traffic violations such as running a red light or making an improper lane change. Drivers can also be charged under the existing driving without due care and attention law, a more serious offence with a fine of $402 and six demerit points.

Signs informing drivers of Alberta’s distracted driving law will be posted at major entrances to Alberta and along major provincial highways at exits from municipalities and at other high traffic volume locations.