Distracted Driving. Is it only your cell phone?

driver with phone and coffee

There are many forms of distracted driving. Many think that distracted driving has to do with the cell phone only. The Traffic Safety Act sets out things that you are not allowed to do while driving and are considered offences under Alberta law.

Traffic Safety Act and Regulation


The following things under Alberta law are considered distractions and are prohibited:

1  Reading or viewing printed material located within the vehicle other than an instrument, gauge, device, or system used to provide information to the individual regarding the various systems or location of the vehicle.

2  Holding, viewing, or manipulation of a cell phone or other electronic device.

You can look at your vehicle’s built in systems only such as your speed odometer and vehicle GPS system. Holding your cellphone while using the GPS feature on it is an offence in Alberta. If you have a GPS system on your phone, you have to pre-program the address and mount it so it becomes hands free. If you fail to do this and are spotted by a peace officer, you might get a fine.

You are prohibited from touching your cellular phone while the car is being driven. That includes stopping at a red light and looking at or using your cell phone. If the car is being driven, you can only talk on your cellular phone if its in the hands-free mode and you are not looking at it.

You cannot at anytime hold your cellular phone. That includes holding your cellular phone and speaking to some while they are on speaker phone, this is an offence in Alberta.

3  You are prohibited from writing, printing, or sketching.

4  You cannot engage in any personal grooming or hygiene.

Other things that may be considered distractions when you drive

There are other things that motorist do that can be considered distractions, they include but not limited to:

  •  Eating or drinking
  • Talking to others in the vehicle
  • Adjusting the radio or mirror while driving
  • Reaching for an object
  • Attending to your child
  • Watching and paying attention to others

Distracted Driving and Your Auto Insurance

If distracted driving is found to have played a role in a collision, drivers can be charged with careless driving as well. This has serious implications on your driving record and your auto insurance premiums. As posted by the Alberta government, “Put the phone down to keep your rates low and the roads safe. A phone call or text is not worth becoming a statistic.”

The information provided on this website does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. Moustarah & Company does not guarantee that this information is accurate or up to date. As a result, should you require legal advice, please contact a lawyer.

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