EDMONTON, Alta. -- Alberta will ban the recreational use of the CB radio as part of what it calls the "most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada."
Bill 16, the Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving) Amendment Act, 2010, restricts the use of handheld cell phones as well as the use of other potentially distracting devices, including the CB radio.
Under the rules, drivers will only be able to use CB radios if: they are operating pilot vehicles and must maintain contact with another vehicle; they are using the radio to contact their employer where the employee is required to maintain radio contact; to participate in a search, rescue or emergency situation; or when the CB is operable in hands-free mode. How exactly police will enforce the rule remains to be seen.
"This is a great day for traffic safety in our province," said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette, who has been typically seen as a trucker-friendly politician. "This legislation is a bold approach and goes beyond restricting cell phones and deals with the broader issue of distracted driving. Our message is clear: Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road."
"As a former police officer, I have witnessed the terrible consequences of distracted driving and I am glad we are taking action," said Art Johnston, MLA for Calgary-Hays, who sponsored the legislation. "Anything we can do to improve safety provides tremendous benefits to Albertans. I would like to thank law enforcement and traffic safety stakeholders for their input and support."
Violating the new rules, which could take effect by mid-2011 will net drivers a fine of $172 with no demerit points. The province says it will be launching a public education and awareness campaign to familiarize drivers with the rules. For more info, visit www.transportation.alberta.ca.