Protect Yourself: The Rise of Distracted Driving in Edmonton

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. Every day we hear about or even witness an accident that could have been totally preventable. Distracted driving became a ticketable offence in Edmonton and on all Alberta roads on September 1, 2011. On January 1, 2016, the penalty for distracted driving was increased to three demerit points and a $287 fine. 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.

What Exactly Constitutes as Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving legislation applies to all motor vehicles at all times, even if the activity is not appearing 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 prior to driving
  • Follow a pre-programmed GPS
  • Use a hand-held 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 honestly judge whether or not you personally find them distracting. 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.

If you notice a driver on the road engaging in any of the activities banned by distracted driving legislation, then 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 make a note of the vehicle and the driver and report the distracted driving behaviour to your local community station.

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. What you can do is 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.

Contact Us today for competitive pricing on auto insurance in Edmonton and find the plan right for you.