- First published in the Feb. 28, 2011 AMA Fleet Safety newsletter
The Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving) Amendment Act
This legislation comes into force upon proclamation, with an anticipated grace period, and could take effect by the middle of 2011. So what does this mean for fleet drivers?
Simply put, the act restricts drivers from holding/using hand-held/portable communication/entertainment devices such as:
Of special notice for commercial fleets, the act also applies to Logistical Transportation Tracking Systems and Dispatch Systems including CB radios and any system with a video screen. These devices must be programmed before driving the vehicle and radios may only be used if with a hands free device or if drivers are part of an escort convoy or are required to maintain radio contact with an employer for an extended period of time.
Keep in mind that drivers may still use hand-held devices to contact emergency services such as 911. This legislation does not affect the official duties of emergency service personnel including law enforcement, fire and medical services.
The fine for the distracted driving offence is $172 with no demerit points. Drivers engaged in any of the identified activities can be charged under this new law. A distracted driver could also face additional charges if they commit other violations such as running a stop sign or making an unsafe lane change.
This legislation will complement the current driving without due care and attention law - a serious offence with a fine of $402 and six demerit points. It applies to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act.
Tips to avoid distracted driving
For more information on distracted driving check out our new Distracted Driving online course, available in the near future. Additional information can also be found at www.transportation.alberta.ca.