Canada Road Safety Week kicked off yesterday across the country, with numerous police forces joining together to make roads safer. Today, CBC News is reporting that Winnipeg police officers wrote 11 distracted driving tickets in just 55 minutes at a single corner yesterday as part of the targeted initiative. The report adds that in the past 30 days, officers issued 1,300 tickets cracking down on people who couldn’t stay off their phones while driving.
“We make it no secret. We notified the media. We told them when we’re going to be here, why we’re going to be here,” said Const. Jason Michalyshen with the Winnipeg Police Service. “We’re seeing far too many tragedies.”
“Can you imagine if that targeted enforcement was every day, all the time — the numbers that we would be coming up with? People just aren’t getting the message for some reason,” said Michalyshen. “We’re living in a world where we just can’t seem to put those devices down, even for just a few minutes.”
Michalyshen however said that there’s been no change in driver behaviour despite the crackdown. “We’re not seeing any improvement. We’re not,” he said, while adding that he had no evidence that texting teens were any more to blame than other drivers. He said that they don’t have any stats that say it’s the younger generation. “Everyone is guilty of grabbing ahold of that phone at an inappropriate time,” he continued.
The officer also said that if the province opts to up penalties for distracted drivers, the Winnipeg Police Service would support that, but they would rather see people get the message from their campaigns.
Distracted driving is now considered a “high-risk” driving offence, on the same level as excessive speeding and driving without due care and attention.