Distracted driving law in effect tomorrow

The most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada will be implemented in our province tomorrow.

Alberta’s new distracted driving law will come into effect on Sept. 1.

To help Albertans prepare for the new law, the government has been running a public education and awareness campaign that provides information about the distracted driving law and how to comply with it.

The new law prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones for talking or texting, the use of other electronic devices, reading, writing and personal grooming while driving. Drivers can still use cell phones or radio communication devices, but only if they use them in a hands-free or voice-activated manner. This means the device is not held in the driver’s hand and is activated by voice or a single touch to the device. Drivers may use a hand-held citizen’s band (CB) or two-way radio when escorting oversized vehicles, to contact one’s employer, or when participating in search, rescue and emergency management situations.

Currently drivers who are distracted behind the wheel can be charged with undo care and attention and it can cost them six demerit points.

The law comes into effect at a busy time, as many students will be making their way back to school and the Labor Day long weekend will be taking place.

“This legislation is another step forward in our traffic safety efforts and an important addition to our overall traffic safety strategy,” said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette. “I am confident this new law, which is practical and enforceable, will help to keep Albertans safer while on the road and that’s something we can all support. We all have a role to play in traffic safety and I encourage Albertans to start practicing safer driving habits today.”

Frequently asked questions and answers about the new law, a poster, fact sheet and more are available on the Alberta Transportation web site at www.transportation.alberta.ca/distracteddriving.htm.