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New law needs more

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  |  Posted: Friday, Sep 02, 2011 06:00 am

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Time to hang up the phones. Drivers in Alberta have now been introduced to Bill 16ís distracted driving law.

While weíre sure the new law will help people focus on the road in front of them, it skipped over one key feature: talking.

Itís a step in the right direction to ban cell phones, but hands-free devices remain just as dangerous.

In an interview with the City View this week, Calgary-Hays MLA Art Johnston said it was a ďgive and takeĒ process when crafting his legislation.

The law includes hand-held cell phones, doesnít ban all communication, keeping hands-free a perfectly legal option.

Multiple studies have shown itís not the physical act of holding a cell phone thatís dangerous, but the conversation itself.

Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, injury researcher and emergency physician at the University of Alberta, said if someone is driving and talking, whether hands-free or not, less than half their attention is on the road in front of you.

Now that itís September, our roads are full of exuberant children heading back to school and not necessarily paying attention to their surroundings.

This law is 99 per cent good, one per cent lousy. When it comes to split second-decisions made behind the wheel that can result in life or death, one per cent seems quite significant.


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