Manitoba’s new distracted driving penalties are now the harshest in Canada, mainly the increase in demerit points, which are now five, along with the $200 fine.
In a news release today, Attorney General Gord Mackintosh (via CBC News) said “There is no denying that talking on a handheld cellphone and texting are both major distractions while driving,” along with “Even the quickest phone call or shortest text message when behind the wheel can result in tragedy.”
Over 5,200 people were convicted of distracted driving last year in the province, with 28 Manitobans killed each year by distracted drivers.
For drivers between 10 to 15 demerits, they will be hit the hardest as their penalties will be $542 and $3200, depending on their driving record.
The public call to increase distracted driving penalties continue to be a major issue in Canada, such as in B.C. where a public consultation was launched last month. Ontario recently announced their distracted driving fines would hit a max of $1000. A recent poll by RBC Insurance noted 72% of Canadians admitted to distracted driving.