Fiddling with the phone while driving

Fake news! We were all set to do a story on the steep increase in fines for distracted driving in Alberta – but it turns out it isn’t happening. It says so on the government website, unless that is the fake news. But it’s right there in black and white, on alberta.ca.

‘The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is $300 and three demerit points.’ For most drivers that would be annoying, but is apparently not much of a deterrent. All day, every day you can see people fiddling with their phones while at the wheel, checking messages or responding to them.

Distracted driving, of course, covers many things besides fiddling with the phone. All sorts of personal grooming activities are on the list. So is reading anything, electronic or otherwise, plus ‘writing, printing or sketching.’ Even if you are doing something not on the list, police have the discretion to charge you if they think your actions impair your ability to drive safely. One example, ‘if you are distracted by your pet while driving.’

It all seems silly and is, until somebody gets run over.

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