Posts Tagged ‘distracted drivers’

Is the Alberta Distracted Driving Bylaw a Cash Cow?

Calgary Police Sergeant Texting While Driving

Calgary Police Sargeant Texting While Driving (Photo by: forum member Jetta-2.0)

Starting this Thursday, Police in Alberta will be able to start issuing tickets under the Traffic Safety Act for distracted driving. On September 1, 2011 the amendment of Section 115 takes effect and will prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones to not only make calls but more importantly text or e-mail. The use of electronic devices such as laptops, portable gaming systems, video screens (portable or built into the vehicle) is also not allowed. While using a GPS will still be allowed, drivers will not be able to enter information into one while driving.

The new distracted driver bylaw does not stop there though. Reading, writing, drawing and personal grooming and hygiene are all on the “not allowed” list. Getting caught doing any of the above activities while operating a vehicle and it’ll cost you a nice $172. Notice the use of the word “vehicle”. That’s right, if you do any of the above while riding your bicycle, you could technically still be ticketed so put away that floss as you pedal down the pathways.

Will the distracted driving bylaw be effective as a road safety measure? Without demerit points to go with the fine, some drivers may find it worth the risk to continue doing what they do. On that same note, police officers knowing that the ticket does not have demerits may write more tickets as they know most people will not bother fighting the ticket as it will likely cost more to fight than to simply pay the fine.

Those in the insurance industry may be able to shed some light on this, but as a non-moving violation will drivers that get hit with this face higher insurance premiums? According to the Government of Alberta website, drivers that commit moving violations may get two tickets, one for the distracted driving and one for their moving violation. Police departments will be happy to hear they’ll be able to pick up an extra $150 in revenue each time they issue one of these tickets.

Some questions for you to ponder as we countdown to 9/1: Is eating a distraction? What about pets running around the vehicle? Can a conversation with a back seat passenger be a distraction? Is driving distracted worse or is driving while tired?

Drive safe! :)

Resources: Alberta Distracted Driving Legislation

Gatineau Bus Driver Fills Out Form While Driving

A Gatineau, Quebec bus driver is being investigated by the STO (Societe de transport de l’Outaouais) after a video was posted on YouTube showing him filling out forms while driving. No charges will be laid by police because of this incident because there are no “distracted driver” laws in Quebec.

Before capturing this vid, the bus driver was talking on his cell phone. I’ve had too many bad experiences with STO. Some involving my 5 year old daughter and others alone. -jaimisbb (youtube)

Alberta to ban cellphones with no ‘proof’ it works

The provincial Tories are pushing ahead with distracted
driving legislation with no proof such bans reduce collisions,
says Alberta Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette.

What To Do If You’re In An Accident

You’re driving along the highway chatting on your cell phone or sipping your designer coffee – or even just listening to the radio, when suddenly, brakes squeal, time slows, and you’ve been in a car accident. It might not even have been your fault – maybe the other driver was on his cell phone, or trying to eat a breakfast burrito, or arguing with a small child. Chances are, however, that one of you was distracted. In fact, information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that distractions are the leading cause of auto accidents.

Whatever the cause of your accident, you now have to figure out what to do. Here are some tips to help you survive your ordeal.

Be Prepared
While preparation can’t guarantee that you’ll never crash, it will help you stay calm and in control when the inevitable does occur. Specifically:

  • Depending on where you live, it’s likely that you’re required to carry proof of insurance or proof of responsibility with you whenever you’re driving, so make sure you have copies of your insurance card in your glove box and in your wallet.
  • Keep copies of your entire insurance policy, your agent’s contact information, and any emergency numbers you’re likely to need in your glove compartment, as well. Also, familiarize yourself with your insurance information before you ever drive – you’ll want to know if you have coverage for towing before you ever need to be towed.
  • Create an emergency kit in case of an accident. Include flares, cones or triangles, and a disposable camera – one that uses actual film. (Digital images are too easy to alter.) A pen and paper are vital also, as well as copies of emergency contact information, and any allergies or medical conditions emergency personnel may need to know about.

Immediately After the Accident

  • STOP. If you don’t, even if you were not at fault and there was no damage to either car, you could be charged with a hit-and-run.
  • Make sure no one in either car is injured, and call for medical attention immediately if anyone has been hurt, or if you are uncertain. Even a slow-speed fender-bender can cause serious injuries.
  • Take pictures then move your car, if possible.
  • Call the police. In some places, the cops must be informed of EVERY accident.
  • Exchange names, contact information, and insurance information with the other driver, but do not admit fault or accept blame – even if you were technically at fault. Include the make, model, year, and license plate number of all vehicles involved in the accident, and get driver’s license and vehicle identification numbers, as well.
  • Get names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Write down, to the best of your ability, the exact date and time of the accident, and how it happened. Your notes should include a record of the weather, road conditions, and any broken streetlights or other relevant environmental factors.
  • Cooperate completely with the police, but also get the officer’s name and badge number, and be sure to ask for a copy of the accident report.
  • File an accident report with your insurance claim center as soon as possible after the accident.

Post-Accident Follow-Up

  • It bears repeating: Do not accept blame or admit fault until you have spoken with your insurance company, an attorney, or both.
  • Ask questions: if the other driver is uninsured, will your policy pay for personal injuries? Do you have uninsured-motorist coverage? How about underinsured-motorist coverage. Know the limits of your policy.
  • If you are contacted by the insurance agent representing the other driver, politely refer them to your agent or attorney. Don’t speak with them.
  • Every time you have a conversation with your attorney or claims adjustor, write a brief review of what you talked about, and the time and date. Keep this in a file.
  • If you are sued, immediately contact your insurance company. In most cases, they will assign an attorney to represent you.
  • Take time to consider any settlement offers before you make a commitment.
  • Know your rights: if you were injured and the other driver was at fault, you could be entitled to compensation, including damage to your car, payment of your medical bills, or lost wages.

There’s no doubt that being involved in a car accident is both frightening and frustrating. However, by maintaining control, and being prepared, you’ll be able to move through the fear, and minimize the frustration.

AMA: Too Many Albertans Driving While Distracted

A car is not a living room.

More and more Albertans are distracted while driving, says Kent Dixon, of the Alberta Motor Association.

“I see more and more people driving their vehicles as though they’re sitting on their couch at home,” he said.”They’re doing anything but paying attention. Driving is not about multi-tasking.”

Add impaired driving and speed to various driver distractions, like text-messaging, and the chances of a collision increase dramatically.

“It really just takes a split-second for an error in judgment or a moment of distraction to cause a collision. There is no such thing as an accident, there are only collisions which can be avoided.”

With the improved weather and road conditions, unfortunately comes increased speeds and risk-taking on Alberta roads as people deal with cabin fever, he said.

Alberta Transportation statistics show that 46 per cent of fatalities on Alberta roads happen between the May and Labour Day long weekends. Between 1998 and 2007, there were more than 10,000 injuries and 225 deaths on roads in Alberta.

Dixon is asking drivers to take reponsibility for their own actions and look out for the safety of, not just themselves, but others as well. He added there’s no excuse to drink and drive.

“We’re not telling people not to drink,” he said. “We’re telling people to drink responsibility.”

Kimberley Collins-Lauber, Edmonton Journal
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