By Now We all know 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).
Activities that are not specifically restricted under the law are:
- Using two-way radios or hand-held radios (also known as CB radios) when a driver is required to remain in contact with one’s employer, such as when escorting oversized vehicles or when participating in search, rescue and emergency management situations.
- Permitting the display screen of the following:
- A GPS navigation system – as long as the system is affixed to the vehicle and programmed before you begin driving or the system is voice activated. You cannot hold the unit or manually enter information while driving.
- A collision avoidance system/ A dispatch system for transporting passengers.
- A gauge, instrument, device or system that provides information about the vehicle’s systems or the vehicle’s location.
- A logistical transportation tracking system that tracks vehicle location, driver status or the delivery of goods for commercial purposes.
- An alcohol ignition interlock device.
Also, existing legislation – Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(i) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle such that it interferes with the driver’s access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle.
Further, Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(j) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to cause any obstruction to the driver’s clear vision in any direction. We encourage the continued use of these existing provisions.
If a driver violates a new distracted driving provision and an existing provision in the Traffic Safety Act it would be up to the discretion of the officer as to if one or both charges would apply.
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