Calgary police chief targets licences as well as wallets of distracted drivers

Calgary’s police chief wants demerit points as well as fines handed out to Albertans caught talking or texting on their cellphone behind the wheel.

CALGARY — Calgary’s police chief wants demerit points as well as fines handed out to Albertans caught talking or texting on their cellphone behind the wheel.

Rick Hanson says just having a $172 fine under the province’s distracted driving legislation is not a strong enough message about the dangers of failing to pay attention on the road.

Hanson says motorists paid attention to the law when it took effect just over a year ago, but they’re not heeding it now and it’s time to consider demerits along with the financial penalty.

He plans to raise the issue at a November meeting of the Alberta Association of Police Chiefs in Edmonton.

Provincial Offences Information and Traffic Ticket Service, or POINTS, a company that helps drivers fight tickets, says demerits will increase the workload at court.

Charlie Pester, a company spokesman, says he thinks Alberta should look at other ideas, such as a 24-hour suspension of phone services and education programs.

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