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Distracted driving targeted this month

February is distracted driving month and if you’re looking at your phone, the police will be looking for you.
Research indicates that driver distractions contribute to 20 to 30 per cent of all collisions and that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers.
“Distracted driving is dangerous at any time,” Transportation Minister Brian Mason said. “Drivers need to be aware of all traffic around them, including other vehicles and vulnerable road users. Please focus on driving ­– and driving, alone.”
Between Sept. 1, 2011, when distracted driving legislation was introduced, and March 31, 2017, there were 139,579 convictions.
Ninety-seven per cent of these convictions were for using a hand-held electronic device while driving.
“Distracted driving is a real danger,” said Supt. Gary Graham, officer in charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “As a driver, you play a large part in ensuring our roads are safe. The message, then, is very simple: don’t increase your chance of being involved in a collision. Instead, put the cellphone down and focus on the road.”
Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts drivers from:
• Using hand-held cellphones.
• Texting or e-mailing (even when stopped at a red light).
• Using electronic devices such as laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players.
• Entering information on GPS units.
• Reading printed materials in the vehicle.
• Writing, printing or sketching.
• Personal grooming.
The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is $287 and three demerit points.
During 2016-’17, male drivers accounted for nearly two-thirds of all convictions.
Young male drivers, age 22 to 34 years, have the highest conviction rates.