Alberta has strict new distracted driving legislation under bill 16 that outlaws talking on the phone, sending texts and emails, and other actions that steal the attention of the person in charge of the vehicle. For the most part, I think the new laws are a great thing: after all, I have had one of the two hand surgeries I’ll need to correct the some of the damage caused to my body by a driver who was paying attention to her text message rather than the flow of traffic.
Some of the rules seem a little out there to me, though. Personal grooming, including styling hair and applying cosmetics are now prohibited behind the wheel, even at red lights or while waiting forever for the CN cars to finish clanking past. Does this mean I can’t smear on a little chapstick at the lights? Am I not allowed to pull my hair off my face with a clip while I wait? I can see a restriction on flat irons and mascara wands while the vehicle is running, but the current wording of the law is rather over the top. The fine is $172 too, so I don’t want to take my chances with lipgloss for that price.
Here’s the one that gets me, though. Drivers are permitted to sip a drink or enjoy a snack, but consuming a meal is not allowed. The Alberta Transportation website provides the basic facts about the legislation, and gives the example of a bowl of cereal being eaten with a spoon as inappropriate food for a driver. This example floors me; I mean, who eats with cutlery while they’re driving somewhere? Have you ever seen someone try to operate a vehicle and eat a meal with anything but her fingers.
When I pulled up to a red light tonight on my pre-contest grocery run, the woman in the lane beside me was eating a Lean Cuisine pasta using a metal fork, the real kind out of her kitchen drawer.
Looks like the government is going to make a killing on this law.
In mostly unrelated news, I will start typing furiously in just over three hours. Thanks so much to the wonderful people who have sent me encouraging words. I’ll be updating my progress here throughout the weekend, since I committed to blog once a day for a year and I’m not going to blow it now.
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