Slow down and get rid of in-car distractions

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MIKE RAINONE

Hammertime

Absolutely perfect timing.

Our children and grandchildren are going back to school on Sept. 1, the same day that the much-hyped and often criticized distracted driving law (Bill 16) goes into effect on our highways and byways. Whether we like it or not there will be absolutely no more excuses or warnings for Albertans who are caught driving under the influence of a number of distractions.

From that day on this much needed and vital safety legislation, which complements the current driving without due care and attention law, will apply to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act — including bicycles.

Bill 16 applies to those driving on all roads in both urban and rural areas of the province, and restricts drivers from the following habits.

• Using hand-held cell phones.

• Texting or emailing.

• Using electronic devices such as laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players).

• Entering information on GPS units.

• Reading printed materials in the vehicle.

• Writing, printing or sketching.

• Personal grooming.

The fine for this offence is $172. However, drivers who exhibit what is deemed to be more serious or risky behaviours could be charged with ‘driving carelessly,’ which under the current Traffic Safety Act carries a fine of $402 and six demerit points.

Back to the vital safety subject of back to school and pedestrians, there are also extreme fines and circumstances for those of us who do not drive with care and attention, 24-7, all year round. These are only a few rules-of-the-road no-nos.

• Failing to yield to a pedestrian. $575 and four demerits.

• Failing to stop for a red light. $287 and three demerits.

• Passing a school bus. $402 and six demerits.

• Failing to wear seat belts. $115 per person in the vehicle.

• Speeding. $124 for travelling 15 km/h over the speed limit and climbing very rapidly up to $351 and four demerits for 50 kmh over the speed limit, as well as court appearances, suspensions, and other very serious charges.

Thank you for driving sensibly, for always watching out and caring for yours, mine and ours future family and citizens, as well as for passionately believing that it is always better to be safe than sorry.

A special birthday gift from her four sons

There were four wealthy and successful men who were so busy making money that they didn’t always spend a whole lot of quality time with their aging widowed mother. They did however remember her 80th birthday, and each son went all out to impress her with very expensive gifts.

The first son purchased her a large and fully equipped modern home, with many rooms, a fully landscaped yard, and a four-car garage.

The second son bought her the finest BMW, complete with GPS, leather bucket seats, and all sorts of other gadgets.

Son number three added a magnificent new entertainment room to her new home, complete with full movie screen, surround sound, and twelve plush theatre seats.

The fourth son remembered that his mother was always faithful at attending church and had taught them all the passages in the Bible when they were growing up. After searching far and wide he found a pastor who had patiently spent many hours teaching his pet parrot to recite every chapter of the Holy Bible. After much discussion and a promise to donate $10,000 to the church, the son finally convinced the pastor to part with his talented parrot so that he could totally surprise and delight his mother on her birthday!

On the day of her birthday the lady was not completely overwhelmed by her luxurious gifts. She would be all alone and totally lost in that big house; the BMW would end up in the four car garage with all the rest because she hasn’t had her driver’s license for five years; and the entertainment room would be far too disruptive for her hearing aids and with most of her friends gone, there would be no one to join her in those fancy seats.

Then to the proud and excited fourth son, she smiled and thanked him very much for the chicken, explaining that it had indeed tasted great with mashed potatoes, gravy, and Brussels sprouts!

Plan now to register for all those fall/winter family fun community activities, but still have hope for a long Indian Summer, and have a great week, all of you!

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