Yukon looks for citizen input on distracted driving regulation

WHITEHORSE — Before the Yukon joins in on the distracted driving bandwagon, residents of the territory will have their say.

In the past few years, regional distracted driving laws have been sweeping across North America. Nearly every Canadian province now has a law in place banning texting and talking on a handheld cell phone while driving, as well as several States.

The U.S. even took measures to specifically ban commercial drivers from texting while at the wheel and bent the ear of the United Nations to discuss the “deadly epidemic” on an international basis.

A recent survey in the U.S. noted that tail-gating is a habit that causes more collisions than distracted driving and another study done in Alberta back in 2008 found other distractions to be worse than talking on a cell phone while driving and was skeptical a ban would actually reduce the number of overall collisions on the road.

The American Trucking Associations, while supportive of distracted driving bans by all drivers, says education will be a key in reducing collisions caused by driver distraction.

So before the Yukon moves forward, the territory’s citizens are being asked to participate in the 2010 distracted driving consultation by filling out a survey and providing comments.

“This initiative is the result of a motion that received unanimous consent of the Yukon Legislative Assembly to consult with Yukoners on the use of cell phones and other electronic handheld devices while driving or operating a motor vehicle,” Highways and Public Works Minister Archie Lang said.

Copies of the survey are being mailed out and the results will help determine what changes to the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) will be brought forward.

The distracted driving consultation will run from July 16 to August 13.

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