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Distracted driving law now in effect across Alberta
Published Thursday, September 1, 2011 6:07PM MDT
Thursday marks the day province's distracted driving legislation comes into effect. As of today, drivers on Alberta roads will receive a $172 ticket if they are caught using a cellphone to talk or text, using electronic devices, reading or engaging in any personal grooming, such as applying makeup.
"The distracted driving legislation was created to keep drivers focused on the road," said Staff Sgt. Barry Maron with EPS.
Police say they don't expect to hand out many tickets. They feel most people are ready to follow the legislation.
"We're treating today, like any other day. We're not going out with any pointed enforcement," said Maron.
And for the most part, a CTV camera captured many drivers following the new legislation, but not everyone is on board just yet.
"I completely forgot and I'm gonna put it on speakerphone right now and hopefully I don't get a ticket for this," said motorist Rob, who was using his cellphone behind the wheel.
And some weren't even aware the new legislation has kicked in.
"Just today? So I shouldn't be on this thing?" a motorist asked CTV.
Police say the public should not to call 911 to report distracted drivers, unless there is a significant risk and a driver is displaying erratic behaviour. Members of the public can report a distracted driver to their local station.
But the complainant must be able to identify the driver, vehicle and be willing to testify as a witness in court.
Drivers are allowed to use hands-free mobile devices that are activated by a single touch or voice activated, eat a snack and drink a beverage while driving.
While driving it is now illegal to:
- Use a hand-held phone talking, texting and e-mailing
- Operate electronic devices like video players and laptops
- Manually program GPS units or portable audio players
- Read or write
- Engage in personal grooming
With files from Bill Fortier