Look around the inside of your vehicle and you can easily see the various items that can pose a distraction while you are driving: radio, GPS, Blue tooth, and cell phones, only to name a few. Not to mention distractions outside of your vehicle such as pedestrians and the actions of other drivers.
Distracted driving is a priority for police because motor-vehicle collisions are increasingly the result of driver inattention often with serious or fatal consequences. It is one of the four main causes of collisions on our roadways in Nova Scotia.
Distracted driving can occur anytime your focus is taken away from the task of driving. Given the many distractions that drivers face every day, HRM Partners in Policing are looking for your help in making our roadways safer.
“Distracted driving is a concern for police across the HRM,” says Cpl. Scott MacRae, Halifax District RCMP. “Officers from our integrated RCMP/HRP Traffic Unit are regularly conducting education and enforcement checkpoints with a focus on the dangers caused by distracted driving.”
According to CAA, cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. Drivers engaged in text messaging on a cellular phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)
In April 2008, Nova Scotia introduced changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that a driver must not use a hand‐held cellular phone or engage in text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.
Despite the fine of $169.91 for a first time offence, drivers continue to use hand-held cell phones and text messaging. Even if you are stopped at an insertion or slowed in traffic you are still driving and your attention to the road is extremely important.
“If you drive while distracted, you are endangering your life and putting the lives of others at risk,” says MacRae. “Distracted driving can have deadly consequences.”
Here are some tips police ask you to consider to avoid distraction while driving:
- Turn off your cell phone and store it in an area like the glove box;
- Adjust your mirror and seat positions in advance;
- Refrain from eating, drinking or grooming;
- Set your climate controls;
- Pre-set your radio to your favourite station;
- Avoid eating or drinking;
- Store or secure any loose objects;
- Ensure pets are secured and cannot move freely in the vehicle
For more information on distracted driving, visit the Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/tran