Distracted-Driving Now Comes With Stiffer Penalty in Alberta

distracted driving

The ban on using a mobile device while driving in Alberta came into effect in September. As of the new year, the fines for those caught driving with a mobile device in Alberta increased from $172 to $287.

The increase in monetary cost is not the only penalty drivers will face this new year. The penalty will now be paired with three demerit points.

In a blog post Brian Mason, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation, said:

“From September 2011 to March of this year, there were more than 87,000 convictions for distracted driving, and despite our best efforts, remains a real danger, with convictions increasing year over year. Given these numbers, we are following through on Albertans’ wishes for stronger penalties for distracted driving.”

Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey said Calgary police welcome the addition of demerits to the penalties. Stacey describes the new penalty as the last piece of the legislation that was missing. Stacey said:

“What we’ve seen so far is the fines clearly aren’t enough, because we have continued to write more tickets every single year since the legislation first came into effect.”

Calgary police say they have written more than 30,000 distracted driving tickets to date, including 8,200 in 2015. Since the legislation was past in September 2011, there was a total of 87,633 distracted driving tickets issued. Of all those tickets, about 98 percent were for drivers using some form of electronic device while behind the wheel.

Stacey said that the introduction of demerits can be a significant deterrent because they can lead to licence suspension and increased insurance rates.

[via CBC News]