Effective January 1, 2016 the penalty for distracted driving in Alberta will be a $287 fine and three demerit points. Any charges or convictions laid before January 1, 2016 will result in a $287 fine but no demerit points (regardless of whether the ticket is paid before or after January 1).
Tickets for distracted driving are issued to the driver of the vehicle and not the registered owner. Should a driver receive too many demerit points, their driver’s licence is suspended. Drivers in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program are suspended when they collect eight or more points. Fully licensed drivers are suspended when they collect 15 or more points.
Drivers engaged in any of the identified Traffic Safety Act that were listed in our flash yesterday can be charged, even if their driving performance doesn’t appear to be affected. If a driver commits a moving violation while distracted, they would receive two tickets – one for distracted driving and one for the moving violation.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, an emergency vehicle includes police service vehicles, fire response units, ambulances and gas disconnection units. Drivers of emergency vehicles are able to use handheld communication devices or other electronic devices only when acting within the scope of their employment.
Activities that are not specifically restricted under the law are:
- Using a cell phone in hands-free mode – the device is not held in the driver’s hand and is activated by voice or a single touch to the device
- Using an earphone – if it is used in a hands-free or voice-activated manner
- Drinking beverages – coffee, water or pop
- Eating a snack
- Talking with passengers
- Listening to a portable audio player – as long as it is set up before you begin driving
- Calling emergency services such as 9-1-1 with a hand-held cell phone
Share This Article
Subscribe to our RSS Feed. What is RSS?