It's been over a year since the Alberta government boosted the penalty for distracted driving, but a lot of people still aren't up to date.
"We still see lots of people on their cell phones (and) I'm still writing lots of tickets," reported RCMP constable Eric Doucette, who handles the bulk of traffic enforcement in the valley. "People seem shocked by the amount of the ticket and the fact there's three demerit points on it, but it's been in force for quite some time, so people aren't getting it yet."
The Alberta Traffic Safety Calendar lists February as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The fine for distracted driving is $287 and the province tacked on the deemerit points in 2016 as an extra disincentive.
"Most people's reaction time when they see something happening in front of them is a second and a half," noted Doucette. "In that second and a half, a lot of times a collision still occurs, so if you're looking at your phone for five seconds you haven't reacted at all and that collision's going to be much more fierce."
"I'm certain that in the amount of tickets I've written here in Drumheller that I have prevented some collisions by making those people aware, however it's still happening," he concluded.