RCMP crack down on distracted driving

  • Feb. 10, 2010 8:00 a.m.

By Jasmine Franklin

Cellphones have changed the face of not only communication but driving.

February serves as “Distracted Driving” month for RCMP and units are cracking down on drivers text messaging, talking on cellphones, and yes, even reading while driving.

“When you’re driving, pay attention to driving,” stresses RCMP Sgt. Glenn Demeare. “It only takes a split second of inattention to lose control of your vehicle.”

Distraction while driving includes any action that misdirects attention from the road onto something else. With the revolution of texting, cellphones have become a key distracter for drivers.

“Even while placing a phone call, you have to look to see what numbers you’re dialing and proceed to direct the vehicle with only one hand,” Demeare said. “Although the mind is a wonderful thing, if cannot direct all of those activities with its full attention at once.”

Recent light has fallen upon the dangers of texting and driving with a no cellphone law in Strathcona County. Those caught chatting or texting on a cell phone will be hit with fines.

Even television talk show’s have focused on the issue speaking to the fact some experts believe it is worse than drinking and driving.

The RCMP remind drivers this month to focus on the road when behind the wheel.

“Multitasking while driving could prove to be a fatal error in judgment with no second chance,” an RCMP press release said. “Ask yourself this question: ‘Is your focus where it should be?’ Missing a phone call won’t kill you, but driving while distracted just might!”

Tips from RCMP

• Be familiar with equipment in your vehicle

• Pull over to eat, drink, text or make a phone call

• Check your route before leaving and ensure you have enough time

• Don’t try to read a map while driving, pull over

• Avoid emotionally charged conversations

Driver who cause a collision while using a cellphone or driving carelessly can be charged under a number of provincial and federal laws.