On November 1 in Manitoba, a new distracted driving law kicked into effect, allowing the suspension of licenses. Manitoba Public Insurance has announced 237 drivers in the province saw their driver’s license suspended for the minimum 3-day period, by the end of November.
RCMP charged 67 drivers for distracted driving, while Brandon Police charged 21. The Winnipeg Police Service charged 149 drivers for using their smartphones while driving.
“Distracted driving remains a very serious road safety issue in Manitoba,” said Satvir Jatana, vice-president responsible for communications, Manitoba Public Insurance, in a press release. “In 2017 alone, distracted driving was a contributing factor in more than 15,000 collisions, while 30 Manitobans lost their lives in distracted-related motor vehicle collisions.
Drivers caught using a hand-operated electronic device face an immediate roadside suspension, while also get a fine of $672 (triple the amount from before) and five demerits (up from the previous two). A $50 license reinstatement fee is also required.
For a second or subsequent distracted driving charge within 10 years, the same penalties are issued, but the license suspension is extended to seven days.
“These police enforcement numbers confirm that too many Manitobans are still not getting the message about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving, and that should be a concern for all road users,” added Jatana.
“Our officers regularly see distracted drivers cause collisions that result in serious injury and even death on roadways throughout the province, these drivers are a clear risk to all Manitobans,” said Assistant Commissioner Scott Kolody, Commanding Officer of the Manitoba RCMP and President of the Manitoba Association Chiefs of Police, in a statement.
“These new, strong penalties send a very clear message that such driving behaviour will not be tolerated. Officers across the province will continue to look for, ticket and suspend distracted drivers so that Manitoba roads are safer for everyone,” added Kolody.