NEW GLASGOW – The New Glasgow Regional Police Service has been spreading awareness of the dangers of distracted driving for some time. Now they are taking it up a notch with designated stops to prevent distracted drivers.
© HEATHER BRIMICOMBE – THE NEWS
Last week the New Glasgow Regional Police Service started to set up stops in downtown areas to catch drivers using cell phones.
Tuesday was the first day the police service began placing officers on the street to spot people using cellphones, whether they were talking or texting. As one officer spots the distracted driver, another officer is already waiting with a ticket in hand for those disobeying the law.
“We’re hearing it all when it comes to cellphones,” said Const. Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Police Force, referring to the excuses from distracted drivers.
The one exception to the law however is in the case of an emergency. The only time it is not illegal to be using a cellphone while operating a vehicle is if you are phoning 911. Anything else is considered illegal and can earn you a $176 fine.
Talking on your cellphone while driving has been against the law in every province in Canada – with the exception of Nunavut – since 2008. To promote this, the month of April in Nova Scotia is Distracted Driving Month.
The spot checks are strategically placed in downtown areas due to the higher density of pedestrians around. “Its more crucial in small towns because we have more pedestrians.” said MacDonald.
The checks will be happening periodically in New Glasgow and Trenton to not only help cut down on the number of distracted drivers, but to check seatbelts as well. “We do it spur of the moment,” said MacDonald, “it requires a lot of resources.”
According to Alberta transportation, distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash. “You’re taking your eyes off the road,” said MacDonald, “that’s the key.”