Distracted Driving

"I just looked down at it for a second..."

Driving is a Full-Time Job.

Staying safe behind the wheel is important to everyone. Alberta's Distracted Driving Law encourages all motorists to focus on one thing: driving.

Research indicates that driver distraction contributes to 20 to 30 per cent of all collisions. Distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than an attentive driver. A study of collisions involving distracted drivers found:

  • reaching for a moving object in the vehicle increased the risk of a collision or near-collision by nine times;
  • insects in the vehicle increased the risk by a factor of six;
  • reading, applying makeup and dialling a hand-held device tripled the odds, and
  • listening and talking on a hand-held device increased the risk by 1.3 times.

Did you know? A driver in rush hour traffic needs to keep track of 3,000 items including signs, traffic lights, other vehicles, passengers, pedestrians and road and weather conditions. Compare that with a fighter pilot, who only needs to keep track of 300 items in a regular non-combat mission.

How to Minimize Distractions

  • Use your cell phone only if the vehicle is parked in a safe place. If the phone rings while driving, have a passenger take the call or let it go to voicemail.
  • Take a rest stop to eat or drink.
  • Avoid emotionally charged conversations with passengers.
  • Install a child seat so that it is visible to the driver. This ensures the driver does not have to take their eyes away from the road for extended periods to monitor the child.;
  • If you need to attend to a child, find a safe spot to park the vehicle before doing so.
  • Avoid programming electronic devices like GPS units while driving.

Distracted Driving Legislation Highlights

The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $300 fine and three demerit points.

The legislation restricts drivers from:

  • using hand-held cell phones
  • texting or emailing
  • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g. MP3 players)
  • entering information on GPS units
  • reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • writing, printing or sketching, and
  • personal grooming (brushing and flossing teeth, putting on makeup, curling hair, clipping nails or shaving).

Furthermore, the legislation complements the current driving without due care and attention legislation, applies to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act (including bicycles), and also applies to all roads in both urban and rural areas of the province

Learn more about distracted driving, get the facts about the law, and review frequently asked questions. Visit the Alberta Transportation website.


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Last edited: October 21, 2020