Traffic safety tips

Our traffic safety focus for February is distracted driving.

Distracted driving is one of the largest causes of collisions, injuries and deaths on Canada’s roads. As technology has evolved, distractions are more than just our phone. In vehicle dashboard screens and limitless features can easily take our eyes off the road.

Alberta’s distracted driving law (outlined in the Traffic Safety Act) is focused on improving road safety while restricting drivers from distracting activities – even if they’re stopped at a red light. The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $300 fine and three demerit points.

How to stay focused on the road

Get all your distractions out of the way before driving:

  • Put your phone away
  • Set your playlist, podcast, safety features, navigation, whatever it is, before you drive
  • Ensure your Bluetooth is properly connected before departure
  • Stow and secure loose objects
  • Prepare children with everything they need before driving
  • Always keep two hands on the wheel
  • Avoid eating and drinking while driving
  • Keep your eyes on the road

What’s considered a distracting activity?

Any activity or behaviour that takes away your attention from driving is considered distracted driving. Some activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Using hand-held cellphones including using speaker phone while holding phone in your hand
  • Texting or emailing
  • 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 such as brushing and flossing teeth or putting on makeup

See the frequently asked questions of our Calgary Police regarding distracted driving

What can I do in my vehicle?

While these activities are not penalized under the law, motorists still need to be cautious and focused on surroundings. Activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Using a cell phone in hands-free mode – the device is not held in the driver’s hand and is activated by voice or a single touch to the device
  • using an earphone – if it is used in a hands-free or voice-activated manner
  • drinking non-alcoholic beverages – coffee, water or pop
  • eating a snack
  • smoking
  • talking with passengers
  • listening to a portable audio player – as long as it is set up before you begin driving
  • calling emergency services such as 9-1-1 with a hand-held cell phone
  • using two-way radios or hand-held radios (also known as CB radios) when a driver is required to remain in contact with one’s employer, such as when escorting oversized vehicles or when participating in search, rescue and emergency management situations
  • permitting the display screen of the following:
    • a GPS navigation system – as long as the system is affixed to the vehicle and programmed before you begin driving or the system is voice activated. You cannot hold the unit or manually enter information while driving
    • a collision avoidance system
    • a gauge, instrument, device or system that provides information about the vehicle’s systems or the vehicle’s location
    • oa dispatch system for transporting passengers

Check out the Calgary Traffic Tips booklet for the information you need to become more knowledgeable, safe and confident when moving around Calgary streets and sidewalks.