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Focusing on distracted drivers

Law enforcement officials are cracking down on unsafe drivers by starting two new traffic safety initiatives this month.

Law enforcement officials are cracking down on unsafe drivers by starting two new traffic safety initiatives this month.

In an effort to reduce needless traffic accidents caused by inattentive drivers, Mounties will be focusing on motorists who multi-task behind the wheel.

“People have all these modern conveniences, but there is a place and time for them,” said RCMP Insp.

James Stiles, confirming that officers will be liberal with warning and ticketing distracted drivers through the month.

Stiles added that drivers who are caught distracted to the point of becoming a road hazard can face serious fines, which can include mandatory court appearances.

Among the most common faux pas officers observe behind the wheel, Stiles said, are text messaging, drinking and eating, and even playing musical instruments.

“Our officers in southern Alberta caught someone on Highway 2 playing guitar while driving,” he said.

“While that may be a worthy display of multi-tasking, not a good idea.”

Additionally, law enforcement officials in four jurisdictions across the province will begin testing to find out how many officers, and at what level of enforcement, are best suited for highway patrols.

Combinations of RCMP officers and Alberta traffic sheriffs will be staffed in and around Wetaskiwin, Whitecourt, Airdrie and Olds.

After six months, the success of the teams will be rated, to see which was most effective.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in Alberta. Roughly 400 people die each year in Alberta as a result of traffic accidents.

 
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