Alberta Introduces Distracted Driving Legislation - Bill 16

The Government of Alberta joins other provinces, such as British Columbia and Ontario, by introducing a comprehensive distracted driving legislation. Bill 16, the Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving) Amendment Act, 2010, proposes a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones and activities like texting, reading, writing, personal grooming, and puts restrictions on using other electronic devices while driving.

"This legislation is a practical, effective and enforceable approach to the issue of distracted driving. We are sending a strong safety message to all Albertans: When you're in your vehicle, your focus must be on driving." said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette.

The bill proposes a fine of $172 with no demerit points. A distracted driver could also face additional charges if they commit other violations, such as running a red light or making an improper lane change. Bill 16 will also complement the current Driving without Due Care and Attention law - a serious offence with a fine of $402 and six demerit points - by giving law enforcement agencies more flexibility in dealing with a wider range of behaviours.

"I am pleased with the efforts that have been made on bringing forward a piece of legislation that strives to make our roads safer," said Art Johnston, Calgary-Hays MLA who introduced the legislation. "I appreciate the great input of law enforcement and traffic safety stakeholders that has led to the introduction of this legislation. This is a complex issue and I believe we have found a good balance between enforcement and safety."

What Would Bill 16 Allow?

Legislation would allow the use of hands-free phones
Radio communications such as CB radios would be allowed for commercial purposes and search and rescue services
Drivers will be allowed to use hand-held devices to contact emergency services
Official duties of emergency service personnel including enforcement, fire and medical services would not be affected

More information on Bill 16

"Bill 16 is part of a comprehensive law enforcement strategy to help continue reducing fatalities and injuries on our road ways." said Frank Oberle, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security.

The proposed legislation will likely be debated in the legislature this fall and will give the public and traffic safety stakeholders an opportunity to view Bill 16 and provide comments and feedback.

[SOURCE - Government of Alberta]

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