Calgary drivers not getting the message on texting and driving

Approximately 6,200 tickets were handed out for distracted driving in the City of Calgary in 2017. While the number of citations dropped by roughly 15 per cent from the year prior, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) cautions that doesn’t mean things are getting better on the roads.

“ a decrease for sure in the number, but I’m not necessarily believing that corresponds to a decrease in the number of people committing the infraction,” said Sgt. Dale Seddon with the CPS traffic division.

“Obviously distracted driving is something we take seriously and is important for us to enforce, but there are other issues we have to investigate, as well–not the least of which is criminal driving infractions.”

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Seddon said much effort has gone into trying to make drivers aware of the safety risks of distracted driving over the past several years, yet people continue to choose to break the law.

“We all know how important this is,” he said. “Yet still, people are failing to comply.

“It’s not an education piece anymore.”

While mobile phone use is often the most common infraction leading to a distracted driving charge, Seddon said the lack of attention to the road takes many forms, including the pursuit of vanity.

“You get people applying makeup using their rear-view mirror and not looking where they’re going,” he said. “We’ve got stories of people cleaning their teeth or flossing their teeth.

“Some people seem to think that taking a selfie in their side-view mirror while they’re driving is something that they just have to have on their Facebook profile. That’s not the way drivers should be conducting themselves on the road.”

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On Monday, Alberta RCMP said they issued 7,611 distracted driving tickets in 2017 province-wide.

Ultimately, Seddon said there needs to be an uptick in the public’s acceptance that distracted driving is something which can’t be tolerated, but that will take the co-operation of drivers complying with the law.

“It’s not just for your personal safety, but for your fellow Calgarians and fellow motorists.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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