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Distracted Driving Law in Effect
Alberta’s Distracted Driving law came into force on September 1, 2011. The law applies to cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, truck tractors, farm vehicles and bicycles. It restricts drivers from:
Tickets for this offence are issued to the driver of the vehicle and not the registered owner. Distracted driving convictions do not appear on driver’s abstracts that are publicly available through registry agent offices. Also, for carriers authorized to operate commercial vehicles, these convictions do not appear on the carrier profile.
Drivers engaged in any of the identified activities can be charged, even if their driving performance doesn’t appear to be affected. If a driver commits a moving violation while distracted, they would receive two tickets – one for distracted driving and one for the moving violation.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, an emergency vehicle includes, police service vehicles, fire response units, ambulances and gas disconnection units. Drivers of emergency vehicles are able to use hand-held communication devices or other electronic devices only when acting within the scope of their employment.
Activities that are not specifically restricted under the law are:
The most frequently asked question regarding the new law is whether pets are specifically addressed by the law. Here’s the answer! In situations where the driver becomes too involved with their pet, police could reasonably argue that the distraction is comparable to the specifically banned activities of reading, writing and grooming and lay a charge.
Also, existing legislation – Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(i) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle such that it interferes with the driver’s access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle. Further, Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(j) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to cause any obstruction to the driver’s clear vision in any direction. We encourage the continued use of these existing provisions.
If a driver violates a new distracted driving provision and an existing provision in the Traffic Safety Act it would be up to the discretion of the officer as to if one or both charges would apply.
For the safety of both pets and road users, it is best if pets are secured in an appropriate pet carrier.
We at One 2 One Driving School Nominated BEST DRIVING SCHOOL CALGARY by Consumer choice award, stress uopn understanding the importance of being focused to the difficult task of driving.