As part of the #TrafficSafety tips movement, the Alberta RCMP are reminding motorists to watch the road and not their personal devices.
Constable Mike Hibbs says that despite distracted driving laws being in effect, there are still many people looking down to their phones or distracting themselves in other ways.
"The RCMP, along with our partners, last year in Alberta issued a little over 4,300 distracted driving tickets in 2018."
Hibbs suggests some tips for drivers to avoid being on the receiving side of a nasty ticket.
"Some of the tips we're advising motorists (to follow) as it comes to distracted driving are to make sure you put your phones away. However, it's not only phones that we deal with. We also deal with people actually eating in their car, grooming themselves, putting make-up on, also adjusting GPS or radios and even having an animal or an unruly child in the vehicle can be distracting as well. Make sure all those distractions are out of the way before you actually hit the road."
Hibbs says that the laws are not put in place for no reason and that the dangers of not watching the road are very real, especially during the winter.
"You take your eyes off the road, even for three seconds, your vehicle covers a lot of ground in those three seconds, especially this time of year where roads are quite slippery. Visibility is reduced with limited daylight hours and those kinds of conditions continue throughout the winter months, so if you take your attention off the road just for second, when it comes time to stop quickly with the slippery roads and the weather conditions it may take a little longer for you to stop."
GPS devices are okay to have while driving, but Hibbs says to have them ready instead of using them while driving.
"(GPS) are perfectly legal, but our advice would be to preset before you leave for your destination. You can have it set to be like a Google Map to where you want to go, just adjusting it as you're driving would be considered distracted driving."
When a driver looks down at their phone, or at the food in their hand, they are placing not only their own lives in jeopardy, but the lives of everyone on the road. Hibbs hopes to see less of distracted driving in the future, but 2018's amount of tickets was a large amount.
"The trend is still there that people are still using their electronic devices and being distracted as they drive."
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