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Protect Yourself: The Rise of Distracted Driving in Edmonton

Are you aware of the dangers of distracted driving?

It’s no surprise that drivers are far more likely to get into an accident when distracted by activities such as texting behind the wheel. Many collisions are caused directly by distracted driving. 

Every day we hear about or even witness an accident that could have been prevented. When we are not focusing on the road or driving, it causes us to be distracted from what is going on around us. When driving, there are so many things that could go wrong that require perfect attention.

From someone suddenly braking, to a child dashing across the road to grab a ball without glancing to see if there are any oncoming cars, to last-minute lane switches, all sorts of things can happen on the road that requires your full attention.

Distracted driving is so dangerous that it is a ticketable offence. Learn more about it below.

When Did Distracted Driving Become a Ticketable Offence in Alberta?

Distracted driving became a ticketable offence in Edmonton and on all Alberta roads on September 1, 2011. But due to ongoing offences and the severity and danger of driving while distracted itself, the penalty was increased just five years later.

On January 1, 2016, the penalty for distracted driving was increased to three demerit points and a $287 fine. You can find out what the penalties are for other types of tickets here.

Suppose you have been charged with distracted driving or are a driver and want to understand more about distracted driving laws in Edmonton. In that case, it is essential to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable auto insurance broker to help you understand what’s at stake if charged with distracted driving.

Our auto insurance brokers in Edmonton at MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. want to make sure that you understand distracted driving legislation. Knowing the law will help you and your family stay safe on the roads.

protect yourself from distracted driving

What Exactly Constitutes Distracted Driving in Alberta?

Distracted driving legislation applies to all motor vehicles, even if the activity does not appear to affect your driving performance.

While driving, the law makes it illegal to:

  • Use a mobile phone to talk or text
  • Operate electronic devices such as laptops, video players, handheld games consoles, or audio players
  • Enter information into a GPS
  • Engage in personal grooming such as shaving or applying makeup
  • Read printed materials
  • Write, draw, or sketch
  • Drive with a pet that is obstructing access to vehicle controls or the driver’s field of vision (no lapdogs while driving)
  • Become too engaged with a pet

 

Under the distracted driving law, drivers are still allowed to:

  • Smoke
  • Eat snacks and drink beverages
  • Talk with passengers
  • Use a hands-free mobile device that is activated by voice or by a single touch
  • Listen to an audio player that has been set up before driving
  • Follow a pre-programmed GPS
  • Use a handheld or two-way radio for work
  • Use a dispatch system for transporting passengers
  • Call emergency services with a mobile phone, if necessary

 

It is important to note that even though the above activities are permissible under distracted driving legislation, you need to judge whether or not you find them distracting honestly. 

For example, if eating a snack is causing you to lose focus on the road, then wait until you can stop driving to finish eating.

Suppose you notice a driver on the road engaging in any activities banned by distracted driving legislation. In that case, you should only call 911 if their driving is also erratic and posing a risk to themselves or others on the road. Otherwise, it is recommended that you note the vehicle and the driver and report the distracted driving behaviour to your local community station.

How Distracted Driving Can Impact Your Insurance Rate

Distracted driving not only results in fines and demerit points, but it can also increase your insurance rates. In addition to this, Edmonton’s distracted driving charges can make it very difficult for drivers to get full coverage of their vehicle.

Insurance companies may also restrict coverage for distracted driving charges. Being charged with distracted driving makes it more likely that you will be in an accident. You may also be labelled as a high-risk driver if you are charged with driving while distracted. You can find out what constitutes a high-risk driver here.

All of this being said, many other factors come into play when your insurance rate is calculated, including your claims history and driving record.

Drivers are statistically more likely to be in or cause accidents when they are driving distracted. It is never a good idea to drive distracted, but if you have been charged with driving while distracted, it is crucial to speak to your insurance broker so they can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction. 

Stay Protected with Good Auto Insurance in Edmonton

You never know what might happen when you get into a vehicle. You can’t control other drivers on the road, and you can’t always plan to avoid all possible hazards and distractions. You can practice being a safe and attentive driver and protect yourself with comprehensive car insurance in Edmonton. The auto insurance brokers at MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. can provide you with the right coverage for your needs, as well as with several auto insurance discounts.

MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. is one of the largest and most reputable brokerages in Alberta. We serve over 10,000 clients throughout Edmonton and the surrounding areas and are dedicated to a personalized approach to provide exceptional, cost-effective products and services.

Contact Us today for competitive pricing on auto insurance in Edmonton and find the plan right for you. You can also learn more about us here

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This article was originally published on February 6, 2020, and has been updated for 2021.