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Agencies team up to fight distracted driving

A new campaign against distracted driving has been launched in Grande Prairie. GP Crime Prevention, RCMP and Enforcement Services have teamed up to try to stop local drivers from using their cell phones, putting on makeup and reading and writing while behind the wheel.

In just the past few weeks, a high number of tickets have been issued in the city for distracted driving offences. Since August 8th, Enforcement Services has laid 716 distracted driving charges, and in less than six hours on August 24th, 32 drivers were charged in a blitz.

A survey done before the campaign found that of the 715 respondents, more than 95 per cent feel distracted driving is a problem in Grande Prairie. Nearly 75 per cent texting while driving was the biggest distraction, followed by texting at a stop light and phone calls.

“If we can provide information that prevents even one accident from distracted driving, then our campaign
will be a success,” the teams says in a release. “Too many lives have been altered or lost altogether from distracted driving, it’s time to put your phone away and just drive. It can wait.”

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In addition to enforcement, the groups will also be focusing on education. Staff and volunteers will again be out on September 8th and 9th to give out information on what people can do to held reduce auto theft, and distracted driving information will be included as well.

The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta was increased on January 1, 2016. It now comes with a $287 fine and three demerit points.

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