Before you take your car out on the road, you must acquaint yourself with all the driving laws of your state. These driving laws have been designed to keep the traffic under control and minimize the chance of accidents. Hence, following these laws are not only important to abide by the legalities but are also crucial for your own safety.
Here is a guide on distracted driving and everything you need to know about it for all new drivers.
Before proceeding, keep in mind that car insurance is also a legal mandate in most states, including Alberta. When looking for car insurance, it is always advisable that you only opt for a reputed provider. For Alberta, Surex is an excellent choice. It is one of the leading insurers in the industry and has an array of affordable plans along with impeccable service.
What Is Distracted Driving?
The laws associated with distracted driving apply to every vehicle on the road in Alberta. Here are some situations in which a driver is considered to be distracted while driving.
- Using handheld cell phones to talk to someone
- Texting or emailing someone
- Using electronic devices like laptops or tablets
- Drawing, sketching, writing, or doing any other similar activities
- Grooming themselves, which includes brushing, flossing, brushing hair, etc
- Reading books, magazines, or any printed material
- Entering location on the GPS
In Alberta, the traffic police have the right to charge you for distracted driving even if your activities are not hindering your driving performance. And in case it does affect your driving performance, you can be charged with both distracted driving as well as moving vehicle violations.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, there are also certain situations under which you can get tickets for distracted driving. This includes situations like:
- If the traffic authorities feel that your pet is distracting you while driving
- If your pet or child sits on your lap while you drive, blocking your vision
- If anyone or anything is occupying the front seat that is hindering your vehicle operation.
That’s why it is always recommended that if you have extra luggage or objects to be transported, always store them in the back of your car. And for babies and pets, use carrier seats.
What Activities Are Not Considered As Distracted Driving
Certain activities might seem like a distraction, but you will not be given a ticket for distracted driving according to the law. These activities include:
- Eating a snack
- Using a portable radio
- Talking to a fellow passenger
- Calling the emergency 911 with a handheld phone
- Speaking on a call with hands-free mode or through a headphone
- Using the GPS as long as it’s fixed at a position and activated by voice
Along with that, the traffic safety rules also list down specific screens that are allowed to be open on your phone while you are driving. These include
- GPS on a voice-activated mod
- A collision avoidance system
- Any app that you are using to find the Drop location of your passengers
- A transportation tracking system, specifically the ones made for delivering goods and tracking the driver’s location
- An alcohol ignition interlock device
How Can You Avoid Distracted Driving?
The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is $300 and three demerit points. Now that you know which activities come under distracted driving, it will be much easier for you to avoid them. After all, $300 is a lot, and you certainly do not want demerit points that would increase your insurance premiums. So here are a few tips that will help you avoid distracted driving.
Your Hands Should Be Free
One of the easiest ways to avoid unintentionally committing a mistake that can be classified as distracted driving is to keep your hands free at all times. When driving, your hands should only be on the gear stick and the steering wheel. Anything else occupying your hands needs to be put down right away. This includes phones, books, electronic devices, bags, etc. If you need to call someone or check the location, opt for a hand-free, voice-activated device.
Nothing Should Be Blocking Your View
If you want to drive right, you need to see the road ahead clearly. Whether it’s your pet or your baby, nothing should be distracting you. For pets and babies, you will find specialized carriers that can be used to seat them. These carrier seats can be fixed on your car seat and ensure they are safe and comfortably seated. Risking a distraction just to coax them is not worth it, especially when it can risk lives on the road.
Pull Over When Needed
It’s possible that you might need to cater to your passengers or do something that will take your eyes off the road. In a situation like this, always pull over and park the car in a safe place before going ahead with your activity. This will not only save you from getting distracted driving tickets but will also ensure your safety.
Plan Before You Start Driving
Whether you need to use the GPS or call someone on the way, plan everything before you start driving. In this way, you will not have to pull over again and again. If you need to call someone, do it before you start driving. If you need the GPS, set it up before you begin your journey. All these measures will not only keep you on the right side of the law but also reduce the risk of accidents.
All the traffic laws are created keeping the safety of the citizens and drivers on the road in mind. The elaborate distracted driving laws in Alberta might sound a little too harsh, but it’s all for your own safety. By keeping the rules mentioned above in mind, you will not only save the $300 on fine, but you will also help your passengers and yourself reach home safely.
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