St. Albert, Alberta – On September 16, 2016, the St. Albert RCMP Traffic Services Unit, in partnership with a neighbouring RCMP Traffic Services Unit, conducted a vehicle swap program in order to better accommodate the operational needs of each unit.
It is evident to the St. Albert Traffic Services the number of drivers using hand held devices while operating a motor vehicle and they wanted to take a pro-active approach to help increase safety within the City of St. Albert.
Cpl. GAULTOIS stated, “Police often see a vehicle and are sure the driver is texting because of where they are looking and their level of distraction but members do not engage or stop the vehicle because of the inability to see the device being used. A high number of trucks and SUVs in Alberta have been raised with lift kits, which makes our job very difficult to see into a vehicle, especially when sitting in a lower vehicle such as a Ford Crown Victoria or other police car.”
The ability to borrow an unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe from a neighbouring RCMP Traffic Unit allowed the St. Albert Traffic members to conduct numerous Distracted Driving initiatives for 21 days (Monday to Saturday) and issue a total of 84 violation tickets.
Cpl. GAULTOIS said, “this is a tremendous increase from previous months which averaged 12 violations per month. The availability, the dependency and the urge to be connected to friends, family and social media on hand held cellular devices is at the forefront of distracted driving offences and possibly low speed crashes.”
The St. Albert Traffic Services Unit will continue to conduct these types of Traffic Safety initiatives throughout the following year and look forward to adding a few SUV’s to their fleet in the near future.
The St. Albert RCMP would like to remind motorists that the penalty for Distracted Driving in Alberta is $287.00 and 3 demerits. Under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, it restricts drivers from:
• Using hand-held cell phones
• Texting or e-mailing (even when stopped at red lights)
• Using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
• Entering information on GPS units
• Reading printed materials in the vehicle
• Writing, printing or sketching
• Personal grooming (e.g., putting on makeup, curling hair, brushing and flossing teeth, clipping nails or shaving)
Also, existing legislation – Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(i) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle such that it interferes with the driver’s access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the Vehicle. To further that, the Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(j) – allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to cause any obstruction to the driver’s clear vision in any direction.
St. Albert RCMP
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