Message from McLeod's Community Safety Director

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February Safety Message

Traffic Safety 

In the month of February, the Alberta Traffic Safety Calendar primary focus is distracted driving. Distracted Driving is an ongoing issue here in the Alberta. Distracted driving causes collisions that result in injuries and fatalities. 


Here is what you cannot do while driving:

  • Hold, View or manipulate cell phones 
  • Use electronic devices such as laptops, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays, program audio players, enter info on GPS systems 
  • Read printed material, print or sketch 
  • Engage in grooming or personal hygiene 

 

Did you know all these activities are not permitted when stopped at red light, or in a drive-thru? Fine amount is $287.00 and three demerit points. 

 

Here is what you can do:

  • Drink a beverage - Coffee, Tea, Juice, Water or Pop 
  • Eat a snack 
  • Engage in conversation with passengers 
  • Smoke a cigarette as long as there are no minors in the vehicle 
  • Use hands-free devices 
  • Use Two Way radios when a driver is required to remain in contact with employer
  • Use GPS if mounted and information is entered before driving 
  • Vehicle information system that provides information of location of vehicle and vehicle operating systems. Can be a gauge, instrument, or device.
  • Use collision avoidance system 
  • Use alcohol ignition interlock device 
  • Use a dispatch system for transporting passengers or logistical transportation system that tracks location, driver status and/or delivery of commercial goods
  • Use portable audio system if set up to use before driving 
  • Hold your phone to call 911 for emergency call 

 

Under the Traffic Safety Act, an emergency vehicle includes Police, Peace Officer, Sheriff, Fire Response Units, Ambulance, and Gas Disconnection Units. Drivers of emergency vehicles are permitted to use hand-held communication devices or any other electronic devices when acting within the scope of their employment. 


Go to: http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/distracteddriving.htm for more information. 


Impaired Driving 

Stricter drunk driving legislation took effect across Canada on December 18, 2018 giving police officers the right to demand a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop. Under the new changes, law enforcement agencies across the country will be to demand a breathalyzer test even if a motorist showing no signs of alcohol impairment. Previously police officers needed reasonable grounds to conduct a breath test which included slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, smell of alcohol and driver stumbling or admitting to recent consumption. 


Did you know...

  • Mandatory alcohol screening is already being used in more than 40 Countries across the world. 
  • In addition, the government closed the loophole by changing the time frame for blowing over the legal limit from "at the time of driving" to within two hours of driving. Previously drivers could avoid fines or a criminal conviction by claiming they consumed alcohol just before or while driving, and thus were not over the legal limit at the time they were driving because the alcohol was not yet fully absorbed in their system.  They can claim it was only later, at the time of testing, that they reached an illegal blood-alcohol concentration. Additionally, some drivers would leave from the scene of an accident and claim they consumed alcohol once at home. 
  • Police will only show up at your door if they can identify you, or your vehicle which was involved in an incident. They are not going to randomly show up at your door and make you blow. 


Licence Suspension Program 

All drivers who are reasonably believed to be criminally impaired, who fail or refuse to provide a fluid sample, or are found to be over the legal limits for alcohol, cannabis or cannabis/alcohol combination, will be subject to the following sanctions: 

  • immediate 90-day license suspension 
  • immediate 3-day vehicle seizure (7 day for a second and subsequent occurrence) 
  • one-year participation in an ingnition interlock program 

 

Drivers who do not participate in the ignition interlock program will remain suspended for the year. These sanctions are in addition to criminal charges and any and all penalties imposed by the court. There are no changes to the post-conviction requirements. 

  

GDL Drivers 

Drivers under the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program found to have any amount of cannabis or illegal drugs in their blood are now subject to the same provincial sanctions that apply to alcohol, including: 

  • immediate 30-day license suspension 
  • immediate 7-day vehicle seizure 
  • must remain in GDL program for 2 years and have no suspensions in the last year to graduate from the program 

 

GDL drivers who meet the requirements for criminal level impaired driving will be subject to any and all provincial sanctions and criminal penalties that apply. 

 

The changes to the law are intended to curb injuries and deaths related to drunk driving. It is estimated that, on average, across Canada 1200 people are killed by impaired drivers each year. In comparison an average of approximately 500 people are victims of homicides in Canada each year. 

 

I am of the opinion that the more drivers checked by our law enforcement officers, the greater the chance to get impaired drivers off our roadways and reduce the risk of themselves or others getting injured or killed. 

 

Stay safe and don't drive impaired!


If you have any questions, please contact me at safety@mcleodcl.ca.

Ryan Bendara
Community Safety Director