Distracted driving tickets issued in Calgary drop significantly in 2019

The number of distracted driving tickets issues by Calgary police dropped by 36 per cent in 2019 compared to the previous year.

According to police, officers handed out 3783 tickets for distracted driving, down from 5944 in 2018.

“The more tickets we issued, like we did in 2018, we may have saved a lot of people’s lives. We may have saved a lot of collisions,” Sgt. Colin Foster with the Calgary Police Service Traffic Unit said.

“Maybe the message is getting through. I hope it is.”

On Jan. 1, 2016, penalties jumped from $172 to $287 in addition to three demerit points.

“The consequences of using your cell phone while you were driving can be horrific, Foster said. “We rely on witnesses in a lot of our investigations and the minute we hear that someone is on their cell phone and that leads towards a collision, we start to drift towards those criminal code charges.” 

It’s hard to say exactly what contributed to the large drop in the the number of tickets that were issued last year. Calgary police traffic unit officers said it’s likely a combination of factors.

“It’s socially more unacceptable for people to use their cell phones while they are driving. There’s lots more public awareness,” Foster said.

“The courts are obviously playing their role and dealing with people who we do bring to court. I think it’s good to see those numbers are down. I personally would like to see no cell phones at all in vehicles.”

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