Alberta has realized that a law for talking or texting while driving is only the beginning. Distractions behind the wheel extend far beyond the vilified hand held device to include, eating, personal grooming (make up for women and shaving for men), reading, dressing and searching for dropped items. While Alberta’s new legislation does not include eating while driving; it’s clear that distractions while driving can lead to deadly outcomes.
Many drivers are still chatting away on their phones with it propped between ear and shoulder or holding it with one hand while halfway paying attention the road with the other hand on the wheel. This scenario is made much worse when lighting a cigarette or searching a music device for a new song get added to the equation leaving driving to knees and elbows.
The message Alberta is sending to its residents is clear, “Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.”
Will BC and other provinces follow suit? New Brunswick is already on their way by introducing a distracted driving bill in late November. With British Columbia having some of the toughest drinking and driving legislation in the country; I’d like to hope that they won’t be far behind with introducing their own legislation for distracted driving.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers the following Tips for Avoiding Distractions While Driving:
- Eat before driving so you won’t be tempted to juggle distracting snacks behind the wheel.
- Pull over and park before using a cellphone or other hand-held electronic device.
- Have a driving playlist on your MP3 player and start it playing before you set the car in motion. That way, you won’t be fumbling to find a good song while driving.
- If something falls, leave it. Never reach for an object while driving, unless it is impeding with your ability to control the car; in which case, pull over and deal with it.
- Deal with predictable distractions before hitting the road. Check the map, adjust the seat, the climate control and the radio, and familiarize yourself with the dashboard controls, before taking the car out of park.