The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is applauding proposed requirements in Alberta – which received the green light in the provincial legislative assembly – that seek to curb distracted driving by beefing up fines and penalties for texting while behind the wheel.
Bill 204, the Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving Demerit) Amendment Act, 2014, was tabled last December by MLA Moe Amery and received unanimous support during third reading March 24.
The bill amends Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act by adding that a person who is guilty of an offence under subsections 115.1, 115.2, 115.3 or 115.4 is liable to a fine of $250 (up from $172) and shall be assessed three demerit points in accordance with the regulations. The aforementioned subsections under the Prohibited Operation of Vehicles section of the act are as follows: cellphones, electronic devices, etc.; display screen visible to driver prohibited; global positioning system; and prohibited activities.
Bill Adams, IBC’s vice president, Western & Pacific, calls the proposed requirements a step in the right direction to curb distracted driving. “Distracted driving puts the safety of everyone on the road in jeopardy. We hope that this bill and continued efforts to raise awareness will help bring an end to distracted driving,” Adams said.