Alberta’s RCMP are reminding drivers to minimize distractions and focus on the task at hand while driving.
“The consequences of distracted driving can be devastating,” said RCMP Superintendent Gary Graham the Officer-in-Charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services.
“It might seem like you have an urgent reason to divert your attention from the roads but, in reality, whatever it is should wait until you can pull over or stop in a safe location.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring the safety of yourself, your passengers and others on the roads,” said Graham.
While driving can seem like a simple task, anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle has their attention split between a variety of elements integral to the act of driving.
“A driver must already pay attention to a variety of items: traffic signals, other motorists, passengers, and road conditions,” said RCMP in a press release.
Adding a cell phone or other distractions into the mix can have severe consequences.
“According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a driver is eight times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident when texting. They are four times more likely when talking on their phone, even when using a hands free device,” said RCMP in a press release.
In their ongoing efforts to curb distracted driving, RCMP Integrated Traffic Units issued over 7,500 distracted driving tickets in 2017.
So far, police have written 147 distracted driving charges this year.
To keep the highways safe and help people avoid tickets, RCMP recommend that drivers only use their phones when safely parked, to only attend to children, pets or other things in the car when parked, and to set GPS units, internal temperature controls and music prior to pulling away from the curb
“Traffic safety is a shared responsibility,” said Alberta Sheriffs Superintendent Rick Gardner.
“A lot of that responsibility belongs to drivers themselves, but some of it belongs to passengers as well,” he said, “it is by working together to prevent distracted driving, that we will make the roads safer for everyone.”