The most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada will soon be implemented in our province. Alberta’s new distracted driving law will come into effect on September 1.
“This legislation is another step forward in our traffic safety efforts and an important addition to our overall traffic safety strategy,” said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette. “I am confident this new law, which is practical and enforceable, will help to keep Albertans safer while on the road and that’s something we can all support. We all have a role to play in traffic safety and I encourage Albertans to start practising safer driving habits today.”
To help Albertans prepare for the new law, the government will run a public education and awareness campaign that will provide information about the distracted driving law and how to comply with it. Advertising will run in newspapers, radio and online.
“During my 25-year career with the Calgary Police Service, I saw countless collisions and the often devastating consequences,” said Art Johnston, MLA, Calgary-Hays and sponsor of the bill. “I have been advocating for this legislation and am pleased to see Alberta’s new distracted driving law come into effect. I would like to thank law enforcement and our traffic safety partners for their support.”
The new law prohibits the use of hand-held cellphones for talking or texting, the use of other electronic devices, reading, writing and personal grooming while driving.  Drivers can still use cellphones or radio communication devices, but only if they use them in a hands-free or voice-activated manner. This means the device is not held in the driver’s hand and is activated by voice or a single touch to the device. Drivers may use a hand-held citizen’s band (CB) or two-way radio when escorting oversized vehicles, to contact one’s employer, or when participating in search, rescue and emergency management situations.
“This legislation gives law enforcement agencies in Alberta an additional tool to help make our roads safer,” said Frank Oberle, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security. “We are sending an extremely strong traffic safety message to motorists across the province: When you’re in your vehicle, your focus must be on driving.”
Several international studies show that 20 to 30 per cent of all collisions involve driver distraction, and distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers.
“This legislation is an example of Alberta’s firm commitment to driver safety,” says Verlyn Olson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “This legislation will raise awareness about the importance of distraction free driving, making roadways safer for all Albertans.”
Frequently asked questions and answers about the new law, a poster, fact sheet and more are available on the Alberta Transportation website: www.transportation.alberta.ca/distracteddriving.htm