You Could Be Fined $287 For Doing This Common Distracted Driving Offence In Alberta
Distracted driving laws in Alberta have been a hot-button topic since the most recent update in January 2015. As of now, distracted driving will hit you with a $287 fine and three demerit points in Alberta. However, do you know what is considered distracted driving in Alberta?
At first, not being able to talk on our phones while driving seemed like an outlandish and inconvenient reality. Soon, just like the banning of various plastics, it’s something we got used to. Though that’s not to say there haven’t been some speed bumps along the way.
You may not realize it, but using your GPS can even be considered distracted driving. GPS systems come in handy in all sorts of situations, whether you’re perpetually lost (don’t worry, me too), exploring a new area, or trying to navigate traffic. That said, taking your eyes off the road to punch in a destination is still distracted driving, no matter how lost you are.
Also, Alberta’s driving laws clearly state that “entering information on GPS units” counts as distracted driving, even if you’re stopped at a red light.
The Alberta Motor Association believes GPS programming needs to be considered in discussions surrounding distracted driving.
“One of the themes we see in the distracted driving conversation is that we’ve simplified it to thinking that it’s texting when we’re behind the wheel. Although that is a significant distraction and likely the largest distraction that we see, there is any number of other forms of distraction behind the wheel. Programming GPS is yet another distraction,” Jeff Kasbrick, Vice President of Government and Stakeholder Relations at Alberta Motor Association told Narcity.
Many other things are considered distracted driving under the law. For example, a major reminder was released reminding drivers that using headphones while behind the wheel could be counted as a distraction. Also, people were (and probably still are) getting penalized for eating, putting on makeup, smoking, and doing other distracting things while driving.
According to the Alberta Motor Association conviction report, 23,546 distracted driving convictions were made in 2018. Though this seems like a lot (and it is), it’s less than the 27,281 just two years prior in 2016. It seems like we might be starting to get the hang of it, but there’s still one thing that requires more (or less) attention.
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You may be wondering what this means in terms of finding your way on the road. For people that rely heavily on GPS navigation, kicking this habit may be difficult. “What we recommend is programming your destination before you start driving. Make sure that you’re legally parked, program in your destination, then rely upon the voice prompts in order to get you to where you need to go,” Kasbrick told Narcity.
Alberta isn’t messing around when it comes to distracted driving. Put simply, it just isn’t worth the risk. Kasbrick went on to explain that distracted driving has now surpassed impaired driving in serious and fatal crashes. “We really owe it to ourselves to really refresh or mindset and be mindful of the driving community that we’re a part of,” he concluded.
Stay safe out there, friends. Lost or not, pull over before you program those GPS systems, or you may have to pay the price.