Red Deer RCMP and Community Peace Officers (CPOs) handed out a disappointing 78 tickets to distracted drivers in February, as part of their month-long campaign targeting inattentive drivers through campaigns and patrols. Those tickets cost each driver $287 and three demerits.
“These numbers are not surprising but they are extremely disappointing,” said Sergeant Kevin Halwa of the Red Deer RCMP traffic unit. “Despite all the research showing that distracted driving significantly increases the risk of a crash, many drivers continue to engage in this dangerous behaviour. When you’re engaging with electronics or other distractions, you aren’t paying attention to the road, and that means you’re risking the safety of innocent people.”
Throughout February, RCMP and Community Peace Officers conducted numerous campaigns targeting distracted drivers in the downtown and throughout the city. More tickets were issued by police officers and CPOs on patrol in marked and unmarked vehicles.
RCMP encountered several concrete examples that illustrate Sgt. Halwa’s point about how electronics pull a driver’s attention away from even highly visible activity on the roads around them. One woman on her cell phone drove for blocks before finally seeing the flashing lights and hearing the warning sirens of the marked police car that was following her. Another young driver on her cell phone at a red light failed to notice the siren, lights and gestures of the police officer who was stopped beside her.
Distracted driving contributes to 20 to 30% of collisions in Alberta. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a driver is eight times more likely to get into a collision when texting, and four times more likely to be in a collision when talking on their phone, even if they’re using a hands free device. Red Deer RCMP will continue to target distracted drivers year-round.
If you wish to report a dangerous driver, call the RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575. RCMP need three pieces of information in order to follow up with traffic complaints:
1. License plate of the vehicle (partial plates can be useful when combined with 2 & 3)
2. Description of the vehicle and driver
3. A written statement from the witness and willingness to attend court if necessary