The province of Alberta banned the use of mobile devices while driving more than four years ago. Last May, the fine for those caught using a smartphone increased to $287 from $172. The goal was to impose higher monetary fines in the hopes to sway drivers to put down their device and focus on the road. Unfortunately, the Calgary police force has reported the opposite has occurred.
According to a report by the CBC, Calgary police have written nearly 29,000 tickets since the law went into effect in 2011, and this year are on track to see over 1,000 more tickets than 2014.
“We haven’t seen it make a huge difference other than people’s reaction when they actually get the ticket,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey. “I’m seeing it a lot and, frankly, I see more of it, it seems, when I’m not in my police car.”
The most common excuses from distracted drivers are:
“I didn’t know I couldn’t text while I was at a red light.”
“Someone called me. I didn’t call them.”
“I was just making a quick call.”
“I was checking my phone to verify an address.”
It’s not just smartphones that drivers are using. Apparently a new trend is seeing drivers watching video on an iPad or, even stranger, playing games.