I’m on the road more often than not. Between work and mom chauffeur duties, it seems I’m in my car more than my home some days. This also means that in order for me to try and stay on top of things I am often taking care of all sorts of business on the go. Making calls for doctors appointments, catching up with clients in between meetings, fueling my body, and connecting with my kids from one destination to the next… this is a familiar story, right?
If you ask me if I’m distracted, I’d say no. I always use my phone hands-free and I never text and drive, but is that the only definition? If I were to take a closer look at my drive time would I really be able to say I’m not distracted?
If a police officer observes your behaviour and deems that you are not fully engaged in the task at hand, it is at their discretion to offer warning or charge you with an offence. No doubt about it, it’s all distraction, even without a mobile device at your finger tips.
Know the cost…
The penalties for distracted driving in Alberta are steep, you could be subject to a $287 fine plus three demerits, or $543 fine plus six demerits if you are distracted and deemed to be driving recklessly. In Ontario that fine is even higher, starting at a whopping $400 and climbing all the way to $1,000 if you receive a summons or choose to fight it.
You can even be charged with dangerous driving (a criminal offence), with jail terms of up to five years. Ultimately though, there is no greater cost than the loss of life or a life altering injury to you, your passengers, or other drivers.
If we take a look at the stats in Alberta as an example, there have been over 150,000 distracted driving convictions since the legislation was introduced in 2011:
- An incredible 98% of those convictions were for using hand-held electronic devices
- Driver distraction contributes to 20-30% of all collisions and distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision
- During 2015 and 2016, male drivers accounted for two thirds of all convictions, and more specifically males between the ages of 22 to 34 have the highest conviction rates.
From theses stats alone we can see some quick and easy solutions – LEAVE YOUR MOBILE DEVICES ALONE, at least while you are driving.
- Use hands free options whenever possible. Most smart phones and many navigation systems have voice command. Familiarize yourself with how to make the most of the technology.
- If you cannot be hands free, pull over to a safe location or parking lot and do what you need.
- Plan ahead. Predetermine your route when heading somewhere new, make calls or send texts before you leave.
- Designate a passenger to help you out – navigation, phone calls, texts, etc. Your only job is focusing on the road.
Distracted driving is not new; technology just added a whole new way to be distracted. Personal grooming like applying make-up or shaving, reading, or tending to fighting or upset children are all distractions too. Even hands-free phone calls can be a distraction, if it takes away from your concentration while driving. Don’t do it, or pull over and proceed again when you are ready. Being late is by far better than not arriving at all.
Want to know more about distracted driving? Review these sources and resources.
Have More Questions?
Let me know and I’ll do my best to address it here for you and all of our readers. Better yet, contact an InsureMy advisor; these guys know their stuff. Email Info@InsureMy.ca or give them a call locally at (403) 410-1896 or toll free at 1-844-410-1896.
Everyday Insurance With Allie
Working mom, lover of the great outdoors and self-professed know-it-all. Our resident blogger, Allie isn’t the insurance guru she claims to be – but she’s learning and we are happy to help guide her. All the while keeping you in the loop on the “insurancey” stuff you need to know. #AskAllie