Edmonton police are reminding drivers to “practice safe text” this Valentines Day.
Officers have been hitting the streets to nab distracted drivers, as part of a week long enforcement campaign across the city.
Feb 12 to Feb 16 marks ‘distracted driving enforcement week,’ and drivers need to pay attention, police said.
“The number of tickets we issue only represents a fraction of the people we see,” said Const.Trevor Henderson in a statement.
“Despite the danger of taking your eyes off the road, drivers continue to use their devices behind the wheel.”
In addition to tickets and fines, Edmonton police officers are using a little sugar to sweeten their message.
As part of the campaign, “EPS Cupids” will be out on the road Wednesday, handing out Valentine’s cookies to drivers during the morning commute in an attempt to raise awareness about distracted driving.
Texting is the most common form of distracted driving seen on Edmonton roads, police said. However, during the ticketing blitz, inattentive drivers have been fined for personal grooming and even reading behind the wheel.
“The majority of drivers we see during enforcement are caught by surprise and many don’t believe they’re breaking the law,” Henderson said.
“The law doesn’t only restrict manipulating a cell phone or device while driving, such as texting or talking, it also restricts holding or viewing it.”
The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $287 fine and three demerit points.
Since 2015, Edmonton police have issued more than 21,000 distracted driving violations. In 2017, 7,403 tickets were issued.
While the number of tickets issued decreased slightly in 2017, distracted driving remains a persistent problem on Edmonton roads, police said.
“Keep your device out of reach and your eyes on the road,” Henderson said. “A phone call, text or social media post is not worth risking your safety and the safety of those around you.”