Car accidents resulting from distracted driving are a growing concern in Edmonton and Canada. While the city’s roads and highways provide essential connectivity, they also witness a rising number of accidents, many of which can be attributed to distracted driving.
In this blog, we’ll explore the dangers of this and its impact on road safety and consult with Edmonton car accident lawyers to reduce car accidents in Edmonton.
Understanding Distracted Driving
Starting September 1, 2011, distracted driving was established as a punishable offence in Edmonton. Commencing January 1, 2016, those who violate the distracted driving law will incur a fine of $300, along with the imposition of 3 demerit points on their driving record.
If a driver exhibits more reckless conduct, they may face charges for careless driving, resulting in a fine of $402 and a deduction of six demerit points.
While operating a vehicle, including during visits to drive-thru establishments, the following activities are considered illegal:
- Using a handheld phone for talking, texting, or emailing.
- Operating electronic devices such as video players and laptops.
- Manually programming GPS units or portable audio players.
- Reading or writing.
- Engaging in personal grooming.
It is considered that drivers can use hands-free mobile devices activated with a single touch or voice commands. Additionally, they can eat a snack, drink a beverage, smoke, or converse with a passenger while driving.
Allowing a pet to occupy the front seat or sit on the driver’s lap could lead to distracted driving charges if the driver appears overly preoccupied with their pet. Drivers might also face charges if their pet obstructs their clear vision in any direction or interferes with access to vehicle controls.
Types of Distractions
Texting while driving is the primary safety concern, but the problem of distracted driving extends beyond mobile phones. According to Alberta Transportation (2011), distracted drivers are more likely to be caught in accidents than those who stay focused.
Additionally, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2010) reveals that driver inattentiveness contributes to 80% of traffic collisions. With the increasing technological advancements in vehicles and the growing integration of devices into our daily routines, resisting the urge to answer a call or send a final message becomes progressively more challenging.
To address the issue of distracted driving effectively, it’s essential to understand the different types of distractions that drivers may face:
|Types of Distractions||Description|
|Visual Distraction||This occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road. Examples include texting, reading, or looking at a GPS device.|
|Manual Distraction||Manual distractions use one or both hands off the steering wheel. Examples include eating, drinking, or adjusting the radio.|
|Cognitive Distraction||Cognitive distractions affect a driver’s mental focus on the road. This can happen when a driver is engaged in a phone conversation or deep in thought.|
Consequences of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving poses severe risks to the driver and others on the road. Some of the consequences include:
|Consequences of Distracted Driving||Description|
|Increased Risk of Accidents||Distracted drivers are more likely to be caught in road accidents, as their reaction times are compromised.|
|Injuries and Fatalities||Collisions resulting from distracted driving can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities.|
|Legal Consequences||In Alberta, the penalties for distracted driving include fines, demerit points, and potential license suspensions.|
|Increased Insurance Premiums||Convictions for distracted driving can result in higher auto insurance premiums.|
|Economic Costs||Accidents caused by distracted driving result in significant economic costs, including medical expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.|
Distracted Driving in Canada
Almost 75% of Canadian drivers openly admit to driving while distracted. This startling fact implies that the driver in front of you, behind you, or beside you has most likely engaged in distracted driving. It’s indeed a concerning thought, isn’t it?
Now, here’s an even more alarming statistic: if you text while driving, your likelihood of being involved in a crash increases by 23. Research reveals that “drivers who use cellular phones are four times more likely to be involved in a collision compared to those who concentrate on the road. Furthermore, when drivers divert their attention from the road for over two seconds, their risk of a crash doubles.”
Given these unsettling distracted driving statistics, it’s unsurprising that the Edmonton Police recently reported that distracted driving has become the leading cause of fatalities on our roads, surpassing the deaths caused by impaired driving and speeding combined.
Steps to Prevent Distracted Driving in Edmonton
Preventing distracted driving in Edmonton, as in any city, is crucial for the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. Below are some elaborated tips on how to prevent distracted driving in Edmonton:
Education and Awareness
Public awareness campaigns can prevent distracted driving. Educational programs and advertisements can inform drivers about the possible dangers of distractions and the importance of staying focused. Local schools and community organizations can also get involved in spreading this crucial message.
Use of Technology
While smartphones can be a distraction, they can also help prevent distracted driving. Some apps can turn off certain functions when the vehicle is in motion. These apps can block text messages and calls, avoiding the temptation to pick up the phone while driving.
Bluetooth and Hands-Free Devices
Encourage the use of Bluetooth and hands-free devices for phone calls while driving. Many vehicles come equipped with these systems, allowing drivers to answer calls without taking their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. It’s a safer alternative to holding a phone.
Pull Over Safely
If a call or text message is urgent and cannot wait, it’s better to pull over safely to the side of the road or into a parking lot. This way, you can respond to the message or call without risking an accident. Always ensure you are in a safe location before using your phone.
Set your GPS, adjust your music, and prepare any necessary navigation or entertainment systems before driving. This reduces the need to fiddle with devices while on the road.
If you have passengers in the vehicle, enlist their help with tasks like changing the radio station, adjusting the climate controls, or handling your phone. Having a co-pilot can significantly reduce distractions.
Rest and Focus
Ensure you are relaxed before getting behind the wheel. Fatigue can lead to inattentiveness. Focus on the task at hand, which is driving safely. Avoid multitasking or daydreaming.
If you’re travelling with others, designate a “texter” or navigator who can handle text messages, calls, and other smartphone functions while you focus solely on driving.
Avoid Eating and Drinking
Eating or drinking while driving can be interrupting. Finish your meal or snack before you start driving, or pull over to eat if necessary.
Secure Loose Objects
Ensure that items inside your vehicle are securely stored. Loose materials can become projectiles in the event of a sudden stop or collision, adding to distractions and potential dangers.
If you have a pet in the vehicle, ensure they are safely secured and not allowed to roam freely inside the car. Unrestrained pets can be a source of distraction.
Lead by Example
Set a good example for others, especially young drivers. If you’re a parent or guardian, emphasize the importance of staying focused while driving and avoid any distracted behaviours yourself.
Reporting Distracted Drivers
If you observe someone driving distracted, consider reporting it to the authorities. Many regions, including Edmonton, have hotlines or online reporting systems for such incidents.
Promote Public Transportation
Support and use public transportation options whenever possible. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road can indirectly reduce distracted driving.
Preventing distracted driving is a collective effort that involves individual responsibility, education, and enforcement of existing laws. By following these tips and promoting safe driving habits, we can work together to make Edmonton’s roads safer for everyone.
Hire an Edmonton Car Accident Lawyers
Distracted driving is a pervasive problem that threatens the safety of Edmonton’s roads. The consequences can be severe, ranging from accidents and injuries to legal and financial repercussions.
To tackle this issue effectively, Edmonton takes a multi-faceted approach, including raising awareness, enforcing stricter penalties, promoting hands-free technology, improving signage, and educating young drivers. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a car accident in Edmonton, remember that professional legal guidance can make a world of difference. Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Edmonton is your lawyer accident firm. We are dedicated to advocating for your rights, helping you navigate the complexities of insurance claims, and ensuring you receive the proper compensation. Don’t hesitate to reach out today.