The Grande Prairie RCMP is warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road, as distracted driving reports, tickets, or warnings are happening at least once a day in the city. Police data obtained by MyGrandePrairieNow.com, shows 26 reports of distracted driving in January 2022, 17 in February, 50 in March, and 37 through April 27th. This, in comparison to 127 overall between January and April 2021.
Sergeant Shawn Graham says it’s important for drivers to understand that distracted driving is not limited to just texting or talking on a handheld device. It could be reading, writing, adjusting audio devices, or attending to other passengers or pets.
“It’s any activity that may impair your ability to drive safely, and these behaviours certainly threaten traffic safety and the safety of people on the roads and pedestrians as well.”
“If you need to use a phone, or engage in anything that would be distracted driving, pull over when it’s safe to do so, come to a stop, and go about the activity… simply coming to a stop at a red light is not safe, and is still considered distracted driving,” he adds.
Graham argues that while drivers may think they are only taking their eyes off the road for a quick moment, that can have lasting, life-altering effects.
“Not only is it a costly offence, with a $300 fine and three demerit points… but it also puts the safety of all other road users at risk for that distracted behaviour.”
“It’s not fair to other motorists, who are focusing on driving to point A to point B, and then someone is not paying attention, and causes a collision,” he adds.
A recent survey released by the Alberta Motor Association noted that 83 per cent of Albertans say distracted driving is a threat to their well-being, yet, approximately 26 per cent of those surveyed believes they can multitask behind the wheel.