Despite a public awareness campaign, wall-to-wall media coverage and giant billboards all over town, some Winnipeg motorists didn’t get the memo Thursday about the province’s new hand-held cell phone ban while behind the wheel.
We set up a camera on a busy downtown street and caught a few scofflaws, but for the most part, the majority of drivers were complying by not talking/texting while driving.
Winnipeg police say they issued 109 tickets for cell-related offences by 5 p.m. on the first day of the ban — which is an extra $21,778.20 in revenue collected. One ticket was issued for smoking in a vehicle where a child under the age of 16 was present. Breaking each of the new laws will score you a $199.80 fine.
While most motorists obeyed the altered rules of the road, we did come across these distractions while watching drivers at the corner of Waverley Street and Scurfield Boulevard during the noon hour … a woman applying her lipstick, a man reading a map, another man combing his hair, a woman picking her teeth in the mirror, a man lighting his passenger’s cigarette and a woman writing in a notepad placed over her steering wheel. Yikes!
Road safety critics feel the provincial government should alter the new law to include any type of driving distraction, whether it be eating, reading, adjusting your radio, etc. Officials weren’t keen on the idea Thursday, saying it’s too early to begin making adjustments to something that has just come into effect, but they were open to the idea of reexamining the issue in the future.