The Alberta Motor Association says drivers are going in the wrong direction when it comes to using navigation technology while driving.

New research from the AMA shows that it takes drivers an average of 40 seconds to program their GPS while they’re driving.

“The risks of GPS programming need to be part of the distracted driving conversation,” says Jeff Kasbrick, Vice-President of Government and Stakeholder Relations at AMA. “Taking your eyes off the road for even two seconds, whether it’s for a text message or using your GPS, can double the likelihood of a crash.”

There were 23,546 distracted driving convictions in Alberta in 2018. Only 11 of them are categorized as GPS-related, but AMA believes that only takes into account drivers using stand-alone GPS units and not navigation apps on their phones.

“Whether it’s texting, shuffling through your latest playlist, or tinkering with your GPS, the message remains the same: anything that distracts from the task of driving puts you – and everyone else on the road – at risk,” says Kasbrick. “To arrive at your destination safely, your best bet is to program the GPS or navigation app prior to the journey, then rely on voice-guided directions while the vehicle is in motion.”

The minimum fine for distracted driving in Alberta is $287.