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Twenty-seven people nabbed for driving offences in Grassland Jan. 23

Of those ticketed, 18 face distracted driving charges
Grassland_hwy63 downtown traffic_FILE
Eighteen people were ticketed for driving while using a cellphone while driving through the Grassland school zone on Jan. 23.
GRASSLAND – On Jan. 23, the Boyle RCMP/Sheriffs Integrated Traffic Unit (ITU) laid close to 30 charges in a day-long attempt to raise awareness about safe driving habits.

Officers were surprised to see the high number of violators observed travelling on Highway 63 through the school zone. Between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. a total of 27 charges were laid and most of the offences were for distracted driving – specifically, for driving while using a cellphone.  

"It was alarming to see how many people were driving through this school zone while distracted,” stated Sheriff Matthew Butcher in a press release. “Distracted driving is dangerous no matter where it occurs, but the risk increases significantly when you add a school zone and pedestrians to the mix.”

In total 18 cellphone tickets were laid, which carry a $287 fine and 3 demerits and the remainder of the charges were related to seatbelt violations.

Aspen View Public Schools communications officer Ross Hunter said the school division was grateful for the hard work of the ITU in keeping drivers aware of the law. 

“We very much appreciate the excellent work done by the RCMP/Sheriffs Integrated Traffic Unit to help ensure the areas around our schools remain safe,” he said. "While the enforcement took place in the school zone, I wouldn’t classify this as school zone enforcement as they weren’t ticketing for speeding, just for seatbelts and distracting driving, which are offences no matter if it’s in a school zone or elsewhere."

Officers would like to remind motorists to continue to drive with caution, undistracted and diligent to the changing road conditions we see during Alberta's winter. 

February is the Alberta Traffic Safety Plan's month to increase focus on distracted drivers. Expect to see officers increasing effort in looking for these high-risk drivers in the near future. 

Heather Stocking

About the Author: Heather Stocking

Heather Stocking a reporter at the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly paper in Northern Alberta. Heather covers all aspects of the news in and around Athabasca and Boyle as well as other small communities.
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