Teens pay attention to distracted driving

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Distracted drivers along St. Albert Trail may have had their illegal habit recorded for posterity early Tuesday.

Students from St. Albert Catholic High School were working with Allstate Insurance that morning as part of a provincial safety initiative to illustrate that, despite laws to the contrary, distracted driving is still commonplace.

Allstate representative Laura Brady was on hand with the students as they staked out the intersection of St. Albert Trail and St. Vital Avenue between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.

“We’re trying to teach teens the dangers of distracted driving,” yelled Brady as gravel trucks and cube vans whizzed by a few feet away.

The team recorded 227 instances of distracted driving during its one-hour observation period.

Grade 12 student Allison Wood was one of many students who participated.

“It’s picking up,” said Wood, raising her voice to be heard above the heavy volume of traffic.

In the span of a few moments, Wood hurried to record all the distracted driving as Brady assisted. There were multiple motorists merging onto St. Albert Trail from St. Vital who were obviously talking on cellphones or eating sandwiches while driving with one hand.

Wood pointed out that the students weren’t just looking for cellphones, they were looking for any kind of distracted driving, even pets in the vehicle causing problems for the driver.

“There’s a lot of things that can distract you,” said Wood.

The work was part of Allstate’s fourth annual Action Against Distraction campaign.

“A recent study commissioned by Allstate Canada found that 97 per cent of Canadian drivers perceive distracted driving negatively if done by other drivers, yet 90 per cent of drivers admit to engaging in some kind of distraction behind the wheel, up from 75 per cent in a similar survey conducted in 2010,” according to a new release from Brady.

A multimedia contest entitled Just Drive is also being held for schools.

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St. Albert Gazette

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