Distracted driving has become a serious and increasingly growing problem here in Alberta and around the world. With nearly everyone owning a mobile device and communication systems in cars supporting these devices, it’s become commonplace for those on our roads to multitask while driving. But today, we have much evidence that the risks posed by this multitasking equates to distraction and has increased traffic crashes accordingly.
Cell Phone Usage While Driving Is a Serious Problem
While there are many different forms of distraction, governments and policymakers have become most concerned with the use of cell phones. Compilations of evidence now suggest that cell phone usage while driving has become a serious problem and has resulted in exponential traffic crashes caused by driver distraction. As Grande Prairie personal injury lawyers, we have seen claims for injuries caused by distracted drivers increase exponentially.
Risks of Being Involved in an Accident Increase By 4 Times
New studies suggest that motorists who use a cell phone while driving are nearly 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident than ones who don’t. Hand held cell phone usage requires drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and their minds off the road and their surroundings. Even with hands-free capability, using a mobile device is still cognitively distracting.
How Cell Phones Distract
Cell phone distraction has been shown to impair driving performance in many ways. Much research has shown that cell phone usage while driving actually reduces the driver’s field of vision which results in a field of view somewhat like tunnel vision.
Studies have found that even using a hands-free phone places a mental burden on the driver that reduces the detection and reaction time to the appearance of a new object in the field of vision. This equates to longer reaction times for braking and reacting to traffic signals and impairing the ability to keep the vehicle in the correct lane or gauging safe following distances.
Alberta’s Distracted Driving Laws
Albert’s Traffic Safety Act has addressed distracted driving and defined it as doing any of the following, even while stopped at a red light:
● Using a hand-held cell phone
● Texting or emailing
● Using any electronic device such as a laptop, video game, camera, video entertainment display or portable audio player
● Entering information into a GPS
● Reading printed material
● Writing, printing or sketching
● Personal grooming
Anyone who is found doing these things can be charged with distracted driving even if driving performance has not been impaired. Add a moving violation to this and two violations exist, one for distracted driving and the other for the moving violation.
Get Professional Advice
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you should get the professional advice of a Grande Prairie injury lawyer. At BILAB Law, we offer injury victims a free consultation to discuss their legal rights after an accident. Call us today.