Province introduces distracted driver legislation
The province has proposed a new bill that will get tough on distracted drivers.
Bill 16 proposes a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones, texting, reading, writing, personal grooming, and restricts the use of other electronic devices while driving.
"We are sending a strong safety message to all Albertans: When you're in your vehicle, your focus must be on driving," says Luke Oulette, Alberta's minister of transportation.
The bill also proposes a $172 fine for infractions but offenders will not face demerit points.
The legislation has been introduced by Art Johnston, the MLA for Calgary-Hays.
"This is a complex issue and I believe we have found a good balance between enforcement and safety," says Johnston.
The bill does outline some exemptions to the rules.
Drivers would be able to use hands-free phones; they would also be allowed to use their hand-held phones in case of emergency.
CB radios would also be allowed to be used for commercial purposes and search and rescue services.
Emergency personnel would be exempt from the new rules.
The proposed legislation is expected to be debated in the legislature this fall.
Calgary's police chief has been calling for a law like this but says he was shocked by today's announcement. Chief Hanson found out about the proposed legislation when CTV News called him for his reaction.
Despite the communication issue, the chief says he's thrilled with what is included in the legislation but says his officers will use discrection. "Our officers, if the law is passed, will use discretion. It will be used in those cases where somebody is clearly driving down the road in a way that is unsafe," says Chief Hanson.
For a complete list of the items contained in the proposed legislation, click on the link for Distracted Driver Legislation.