According to a new report from BizTek Mojo, the Edmonton Police Service issued hundreds of tickets for distracted driving in the city during its “Hang Up and Drive” campaign, a 24 hour ticketing blitz, on August 5.
The report notes that Edmonton Police issued 480 distracted driving tickets across the city. Of these, 463 tickets were issued to drivers who were found using their cell phones behind the wheel.
Acting Staff Sgt. Dave Green told CTV News that distracted driving was the number one cause for recent fatalities on the road in Edmonton.
“There was a text conversation between a young lady and her boyfriend, ‘Hey baby, how you doing’….’I’m good what ya wanna do tonight, should we get a movie?'” Green said.
“[Then] ‘Are you there? Are you there? Are you there?'”
“A major collision, [we] had to go out to the fatal because she ended up running into a pole.”
Green said that distracted driving due to cell phone use can have serious consequences on the road. He considers distracted driving a major problem and he believes that the number of tickets issued is actually a “very small percent of the people who actually do it.”
Distracted driving does not always come in the form of using a cell phone while on the road. Other forms of distracted driving include:
– Electronic devices such as CD or DVD players, GPS systems, laptops, radios, MP3 players, etc.
– Drinking or eating
– Reading directions, maps, or other material.
– Grooming (shaving, combing hair, etc.).
– Talking with others
– Tending to pets
– Looking at billboards on the road.
Green suggests that drivers should be alert and aware at all times when driving a vehicle. He said:
“It can take less than a second of distraction for a tremendous, life-altering incident to occur.”
The fine for using a cellphone while driving jumped today in P.E.I, meaning the maximum fines are now the most expensive in the country, reports the CBC. The minimum fine has increased from $250 to $500, while the maximum fine has tripled from $400 to $1,200.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) said that Ontario now has the second largest maximum fine at $1000.
In addition to raising the fines in P.E.I, the number of demerit points taken for distracted driving increases from three to five. Manitoba is currently the only other province that gives five demerit points if you are stopped by police for distracted driving.