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Distracted driving bill wins praise - Metro US

Distracted driving bill wins praise

Local groups are lauding proposed provincial legislation that will ban nearly everything distracting behind the wheel besides driving.

Using hand-held cellphones, texting, reading, writing and personal grooming while piloting a vehicle could all draw a $172 fine under the new Distracted Driving Amendment Act, expected to come up for debate this fall.

Roger Richard, president of Associated Cabs, said the legislation is long overdue, noting Calgary taxis are already banned from using cellphones while driving.

“It should have happened a long time ago and I am all for it. It’s just going to improve safety and keep the road for driving only,” Richard said.

Calgary police spokesperson Kevin Brookwell said the service applauds the move.

“It’s common sense but it is another tool for us to use our discretion when applying it to keep the roads a safe place,” he said.

But Calgary driver Kathleen Harris isn’t so convinced.

“Alberta seems to lag behind other places and then we overdo it. Will I get a ticket for drinking my morning coffee? How far will it go?” she asked.

Don Szarko of the Alberta Motor Association would have liked to see the proposal include hands-free cellphones, but said the bill goes further than other legislation in Canada.

“Just the very fact that these behaviours are going to be regulated and you have the potential of being fined … might be a deterrent for quite a large number of people.”

with files from the Canadian Press

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