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Information Bulletin - Driver Distractions

January 31, 2008

Drivers dangerously driven to distraction with multi-tasking

Edmonton... Countless distractions tempt motorists daily and deter them from staying focused on driving safely. Increased traffic, longer commutes, in-vehicle technology and seemingly less time for work and personal tasks are all factors that can result in driver distraction. This may lead to drivers feeling pressure to multi-task.

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported that distracted drivers are three times as likely to be involved in a collision as more attentive motorists. They also reported that almost 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes happen within three seconds of some form of driver distraction. Reaching for a moving object multiplied the risk of a collision or near-collision by nine times while reading, applying makeup, or dialing a handheld device tripled the risk.

You can minimize distractions while on the road.

  • Finish grooming before leaving home. Don't shave or apply make-up while driving.
  • Know the intended route of travel before leaving. Don't try to read a map while driving.
  • Pre-set the climate control, radio or CD. Do not make adjustments unless the vehicle is stopped.
  • Put newspapers and other reading materials out of sight and out of reach if tempted to read while driving.
  • Be sure there is nothing in the vehicle that will slide around or tip over while on the road.
  • Make sure children are comfortable and properly buckled up. Prepare safe activities for the trip so they won't get restless.
  • Pull over to eat or drink.
  • Avoid emotionally charged conversations with passengers.
  • Use a cell phone only if the vehicle is safely stopped or have a passenger receive or make the call.
  • Find a safe place to stop before writing things down. Never take notes while driving.

Improving traffic safety is part of Premier Ed Stelmach’s plan to secure Alberta’s future by building communities, greening our growth and creating opportunity.

For more information about traffic safety, contact the Office of Traffic Safety at 780-422-8839 or visit http://www.saferoads.com/.

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Media enquiries may be directed to:

Liz Owens
Office of Traffic Safety
Alberta Transportation

Eileen McDonald
Alberta Transportation
780-422-0842 or  780-913-4609 (cell)

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.