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Distracted Driving and Your Insurance

How could Albert’s Distracted Driving Laws affect you and your auto insurance policy?

 As the number of vehicles on the road increases each year, so do the number of accidents. With this upsurge in drivers and today’s modern era of technology, distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of accidents in Alberta. Along with the increased risk of an accident there are many important insurance implications to consider when you think about distracted driving.

In regards to auto insurance within the province, Alberta’s legislation makes it mandatory for auto insurers to offer you liability and accident benefits coverage; However, insurance companies can enforce strict terms and conditions on policies when a driver’s convictions come into play. Convictions can cause more insurance headaches than you may think; Convictions like distracted driving.

Distracted driving is now considered to be a Major conviction with many insurance companies, which can carry with it additional surcharges being applied to auto insurance policies. Tickets can cause an increase in your insurance rates because you are statistically more likely to be in an accident if you’re not following the rules of the road; This is especially true for distracted driving!

A distracted driving conviction can result in a substantial increase to your insurance premiums and/or the inability to purchase physical damage insurance for your vehicle. Without any physical damage insurance, you may not be able to acquire financing for your vehicle as many financial institutions require proof of this coverage in order to secure financing. In addition to this, insurance companies may require you to pay the full year’s premium upfront without the option of a payment plan.

Now that you know some of the insurance implications of distracted driving, what is actually included in Alberta’s distracted driving laws?

Alberta’s distracted driving law applies to all vehicles and all roads in Alberta. The law restricts drivers from being distracted even while stopped at red lights. Distractions while driving include: using hand-held cell phones while texting, e-mailing or scanning through your playlists to change the song on your radio, using electronic devices such as laptop computers, video games, cameras or video entertainment displays, entering information on GPS units, reading printed materials, writing, printing or sketching in the vehicle and personal grooming (such as brushing and flossing teeth, putting on makeup, curling hair, clipping nails or shaving).

Enforcing distracted driving has become stricter and penalties more severe. The current penalty in Alberta being a $300 fine and 3 demerit points. Further, if you commit a moving violation while distracted, you could receive two tickets (one for distracted driving and one for the moving violation).

Did you know that you can also be charged with distracted driving, even if your driving performance does not appear to be affected? It’s true!

Police can choose to lay charges for distracted driving if you are engaging in other activities that impair your ability to drive safely. These activities can include having something in the vehicle that can obstruct your vision in any direction, or allowing anything to occupy the front seat of your vehicle that interferes with your ability to access the vehicle’s controls (such as having a pet on your lap). To all you pet lovers out there, for the safety of yourself, your beloved animals, and those around you sharing the road, it is recommended to keep your pets secured in appropriate carriers while riding in the vehicle.

You can’t argue with the statistics — distracted driving is on the rise and insurance companies are noticing! It is best to never drive while distracted. Remember, it is your duty as a driver on the road to drive responsibly in order to keep yourself, and all those around you, safe.

 

If you have additional questions about distracted driving and how it could affect you, contact your local Drayden Insurance Broker.
We are here. For you.

* by Chelsea Macaulay, BA, BEd, CAIB (Hons) April 14/21

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