While many Alberta drivers have received the “Don’t Drink and Drive” message loud and clear in recent years, the same can’t always be said for the more recent danger represented by distracted driving.
According to recently released statistics from the RCMP in Alberta, 7,611 distracted driving tickets were issued in Alberta in 2017. And the number of such tickets issued has been increasing steadily since 2012, with the exception of 2016.
Whether the troubling upward trend in distracted driving will continue into 2018 remains to be seen.
What is known is that as long as thousands of drivers are prepared to put their own convenience first and the safety of the general public last, Alberta’s roadways will continue to be very dangerous places indeed.
As those on the front line of the distracted driving battle, police officers continue to call for a much-needed change in driver attitude.
“The consequences of distracted driving can be devastating,” said Supt. Gary Graham, officer-in-charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “It might seem like you have an urgent reason to divert your attention from the roads but, in reality, whatever it is should wait until you can pull over or stop in a safe location.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring the safety of yourself, your passengers and others on the roads,”
Alberta Sheriffs Supt. Rick Gardner added, “Traffic safety is a shared responsibility. A lot of that responsibility belongs to drivers themselves, but some of it belongs to passengers as well. As a passenger, you can help the driver by ensuring you’re not being a distraction.”
While the fact that more than 7,000 drivers were ticketed for distracted driving in Alberta last year is certainly troubling, what is even more concerning is the fact that for every driver caught there are likely many times more who were never even stopped.
Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, Alberta drivers will finally start getting the message that distracted driving is dangerous driving, plain and simple.
– Singleton is the Mountain View Gazette editor