For Road Safety Week, let’s focus on distracted driving

May 5, 2021

For Road Safety Week, let’s focus on distracted driving

Talking hands-free while driving? Research shows it is not safer than holding a phone. Distracted driving can take many forms and is a major contributor to deaths on Canada’s roads.

During Road Safety Week, May 11 to 17, 2021, Strathcona County asks drivers to stay focused on the road, and to educate themselves about distracted driving.

Strathcona County’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee identified distracted driving as the priority topic to address with the community for Road Safety Week. Further, residents participating in a 2020 Road Safety Week social media poll identified distracted driving as the top traffic safety concern.

Distracted driving is any activity that removes driver focus off the road. The fine for distracted driving in Alberta is $287 and 3 demerits. Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts drivers from the following while driving:

  • Using hand-held cellphones
  • Texting or e-mailing
  • Using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays, and programming portable audio players (e.g., iPod)
  • Entering information on GPS units
  • Reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • Writing, printing or sketching
  • Personal grooming

Think hands-free is safe? Think again.

Strathcona County survey and poll results suggest many residents believe hands-free cell phone use to be safe and acceptable. However, research shows that speaking hands-free is not safe when driving. Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50 per cent of their driving environments.

Texting when stopped at a light? Distracted and dangerous.

The Edmonton and Area Traffic Safety Culture Survey in 2016 found 94 per cent of respondents believe texting, emailing, or using social media is a serious threat to their safety, yet 33 per cent said they have done so while driving in the past month.

Even when stopped at a light, texting is not safe. An American Automobile Association study found people are distracted for up to 27 seconds after they finish sending a voice text. When people switch between mental tasks, such as from texting to looking up to drive when a light turns green, responses are much slower. People are more prone to mistakes immediately after they switch tasks.

Keep your dog (or cat) as a back seat rider

For the safety of both pets and road users, pets should be secured in the back of a vehicle in a carrier or with a seatbelt. That chihuahua on the driver’s lap can reduce the ability to operate the vehicle safely or become a dangerous projectile in the event of a collision.

While it is difficult to quantify the impact of distracted driving, it is generally accepted distraction is responsible for a greater percentage of road fatalities than impaired driving in Canada. In 2020, there were seven fatalities and 15 hospitalizations due to collisions in Strathcona County, including provincial highways.

Strathcona County’s vision is that no one will be seriously injured or killed while travelling on the road network.

Strathcona County has proclaimed May 11 to 17, 2021 Road Safety Week, in alignment with Canada Safety Council’s National Road Safety Week, a local week promoting road safety will help build awareness towards our vision.

More information:


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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595