AIRDRIE: Eleven years and four weeks after the legislation was introduced, a 40-year-old Alberta resident received his 13th distracted driving conviction while attending provincial traffic court in Airdrie on Sept. 27.
According to a press release from Alberta RCMP, the province's Mounties are always on the lookout for distracted drivers as a means to reduce fatalities and serious injury collisions that are caused by distracted driving.
"Today, in Provincial Traffic Court in Airdrie, Alta., a 40-year-old male from Alberta, was sentenced for his 13th distracted driving conviction," the release stated. "For this 13th conviction, he received a $2,000 fine and a $300 victim surcharge."
The individual also received three demerit points for the conviction, according to RCMP.
Sgt. Darrin Turnbull said RCMP does not typically issue press releases about distracted drivers, but added the Alberta detachment did so with this case because of the public safety aspect and to remind motorists that distracted driving doesn't just come with a fine, but a possible court summons.
"It's a priority for Alberta RCMP. And if you are caught distracted driving, you can be issued a summons to court, rather than just getting the regular specified penalty of $300," he said.
According to RCMP's press release, research has shown driver distraction is the primary cause of over 20 per cent of all crashes, and that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers," Alberta RCMP's release stated.
"Sadly, motor vehicle collisions caused by distracted driving are happening every day in Alberta. Please, leave the phone alone," the release stated.
Turnbull noted the unnamed motorist in the press release received his first distracted driving ticket on Sept. 1, 2011 – the day distracted driving officially became illegal in Alberta. In the 11 years and four weeks since, the motorist has been convicted of the crime an average of more than once per year, with fines totalling $5,371.
"Obviously, this person is struggling with following the law with regard to leaving the phone alone," Turnbull said.