Edmonton

Demerits coming for Alberta distracted drivers

Under a private members bill passed last spring, Albertans caught texting or engaging in any other kind of distracted driving would receive three demerit points in addition to a fine.
Distracted driving convictions will soon add demerit points for Alberta drivers.

The Alberta government is planning to start hitting distracted drivers with demerit points starting Jan. 1. 

Transportation Minister Brian Mason confirmed this is part of a plan that he will be announcing Thursday but he declined to give more details.

The applicable section of the traffic act was amended by cabinet this week and announced Wednesday as an order in council.

The government is holding a news conference at 12:30 p.m Thursday.

Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht, Alberta RCMP commanding officer Marianne Ryan and Jeff Kasbrick from the Alberta Motor Association will join Mason along with Renaye Wade, a woman who was badly injured after she was struck by a distracted driver. 

Under a private members bill passed last spring, Albertans caught texting or engaging in any other kind of distracted driving would receive three demerit points in addition to a $287 fine.

Police say penalizing drivers using demerits is a more effective way to enforce distracted driving laws because repeat offenders risk losing their licences. 

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