Police Launch Distracted Driving Safety Campaign

Winnipeg police Constable Steve Bowen cycles through traffic looking for drivers using a mobile device while behind the wheel. (STAN MILOSEVIC / MANITOBAPHOTOS.COM FILE)

Manitoba Public Insurance is providing law enforcement with $120,000 in an effort to make sure drivers get the message about the dangers of using their cell phone behind the wheel.

The public auto insurer says a recent survey found that drivers are still talking and texting on their phones while driving, despite the ban that went into place in July 2010.

MPI will provide the Winnipeg police, RCMP and Brandon police with the financial resources to put more officers on the streets to nab drivers who disobey the law during the month of February.

“There’s a human and economic cost associated with distracted driving crashes,” said Ted Hlynsky of MPI. “A person’s life can dramatically change forever due to driving while distracted. More than 90 per cent of respondents readily acknowledged it’s likely for a driver to get into a collision while driving and using their cell phone.”

The fine for using your phone without a hands-free device while driving is $199.80 in the province.

“Like drinking and driving, the illegal use of hand operated electronic devices while driving is dangerous, nor acceptable on any level,” said Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskill.

Distracted driving poll highlights:

  • 26% — speeding/driving too fast for conditions
  • 23% — cell phone use while driving
  • 21% — drinking and driving
  • 17% — drivers not paying attention

*800 Manitobans participated in the poll.