Calgary police will be cracking down on distracted drivers this month and will be on the lookout for inattentive motorists behind the wheel.

The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) is focusing on distracted driving and police are reminding drivers that holding onto any electronic device while operating a motor vehicle is unlawful and dangerous. 

They say other distractions can also be dangerous including playing with an MP3 player, adjusting the GPS, grooming, reading, playing a musical instrument and eating.

All of these activities are still considered a distraction even if motorists are at a red light, stop sign or traffic standstill and violators could face a $172 fine.

“There are so many ways to avoid distracted driving with today’s technology - including Bluetooth devices and applications that will read your text messages and respond for you,” says Cst. Jim Lebedeff of the CPS Traffic Education Unit.  “We cannot stress enough that operating a motor vehicle is a full time job.  It only takes a split second for a distraction to occur that may change the course of your life forever.”  

Police will also be keeping an eye out for other traffic infractions, which may be signs of distracted driving, including: 

  • Failing to signal lane changes or unsafe lane changes (which may include erratic driving or wandering in and out of the lanes)
  • Speeding, not signaling or making wide turns because of not paying attention
  • Following too close
  • Driving left of center (which involves pulling over to the wrong side of the road or curb, on any roadway)
  • Failing to obey a traffic control device
  • Careless driving
  • Failing to yield to a pedestrian

Fines for these types of infractions range from $115 to $575 depending on the offence.