The RCMP say in 2015, young drivers represented 14% of the province’s registered drivers, but made more than 20% of the drivers involved in casualty collisions. One of the major reasons for the high rate of collisions among youth is distracted driving.
“The message is simple, distracted driving is extremely dangerous. It puts you and everyone else on the road at greater risk of being involved in a collision,” says Superintendent Rick Gardner, Alberta Traffic Sheriffs.
He adds, “drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and off the phones.”
Driving distracted is defined as any activity, event or object that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Examples are:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Attending to other passengers or pets
- Personal grooming
“Distracted driving can be as dangerous as impaired driving. Officers from the ITUs are always watching for distracted drivers and we’ve seen everything from the obvious cell phones, to reading a book, to shaving, to holding a bowl of soup with one hand and eating it with a spoon in the other, all while driving,” says RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull.
He adds, “things around you can change in the blink of an eye, please pay attention.”
Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation gives these facts for young drivers to keep in mind:
- One in five new drivers is involved in a collision during their first two years of driving
- Fatal collisions involving a young driver occur most often in September and July (2011-2015).
- Distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers.
- Young male drivers, age 22 to 34 years, have the highest distracted driving conviction rates.
Police want to remind teenagers and young adults that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is a serious responsibility.