The Alberta RCMP is reminding motorists of the importance of distraction-free driving.
Maintaining undivided attention is crucial for drivers to stay fully aware of their surroundings and fellow road users. Any diversion from this focus significantly raises the likelihood of driver error, collisions, and severe injuries.
Even though the hazards of distracted driving are well known, in 2023, the Alberta RCMP pressed charges against more than 5,000 motorists for this offence.
Remember the following points to make sure your commute is free of distractions, according to the RCMP:
- Distracted driving is not limited to texting or talking on a handheld device while operating a vehicle — it also includes personal grooming, reading, writing, adjusting GPS or audio devices, attending to passengers or pets, and any other activity that might impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely.
- If you need to text, make a call, or engage in any distracting activity, pull over where it is safe to do so and park your vehicle. Simply coming to a stop at a red light is not safe and is still considered distracted driving.
- Before putting your vehicle in drive, prepare by pre-setting your hands-free device GPS, radio or music. Do not make adjustments unless the vehicle is stopped.
“That quick text or GPS adjustment can have big costs. A distracted driving fine is $300, but even worse than that, it can cost you your life, or someone else’s” says Sergeant Darrin Turnbull, Alberta RCMP Traffic. “Distractions behind the wheel can have significant and lasting impacts, no matter how quick or harmless they may seem, or how experienced of a drive you may be. Distracted driving is dangerous and never worth the risk.”
Between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, 40 motorists were caught distracted driving.
It is especially important to not be distracted when driving in the area of intersections where pedestrians are frequently crossing.
Just last month, Airdrie Mounties responded to a collision involving two youths who sustained minor injuries after a vehicle struck. According to police the youths were crossing at an intersection located at Canals Boulevard and Sagewood Drive when a red Ford Escape struck them.
The 20-year-old driver, an Airdrie resident, and the youths remained on the scene and police said that the collision was the result of the motorist failing to stop safely at the intersection.
Due to varying speeds at which pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists approach intersections, the likelihood of collisions is heightened.
Annually, intersections in Alberta witness an average of 47 fatalities and nearly 7,000 injuries resulting from collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
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