Alberta is the late entry in banning use of electronic devices and other distracting activities while driving. But, the ban is probably the strictest in North America.
The Distracted Driving Legislation, (Bill 16), that came into effect on Sept. 1, 2011 has set a $172 fine for distracted driving. The distracting activities includes talking in phone, texting, setting GPS devices, personal grooming, reading or other activities that distract the driving.
Activities not allowed during driving include:
- talking on a hand-held cell phone
- using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video
- entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., mp3 players)
- manually entering information on GPS units
- reading printed material like a book or a magazine
- writing, printing or sketching
- personal grooming like combing your hair, applying makeup or brushing your teeth
- using a 2-way radio or what is commonly referred to as a CB (Citizen’s Band) radio (some exemptions apply)
The law however doesn’t restrict the drivers from doing the following activities:
- A cell phone in hands-free mode is allowed. The mobile device can’t be held in the driver’s hand and should be activated by voice or by a single touch.
- Earphone can be used
- You can drink coffee, water or pop
- You can also eat a snack
- You can smoke
- Driver can talk with passengers
- Listening to CDs and Mp3 players – are allowed
- A GPS navigation system is allowed if it is affixed to the vehicle and you don’t need to touch it
- Collision avoidance system
- Calling 911 (or, other emergency services) is allowed
- 2-way radios or hand-held radios are allowed only when when escorting oversized vehicles, to contact one’s employer, or when participating in search, rescue and emergency management situations.
Although some researchers are arguing that such laws are unnecessary and restricting the use of cell phone doesn’t reduce accidents, no one can deny that distractions do affect the driver’s judgments.
Keep focus on road and make the roads safer place.