WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government has taken the gloves off and introduced tougher penalties for motorists who choose to text and drive.
Beginning November 1, a first-time offence for distracted driving will cost you $672 — up from a $203 fine previously.
Those caught operating a cell phone or other hand-held electronic device will have their licence immediately suspended for three days and receive five demerits for each infraction — up from two. Officers will also notify Manitoba Public Insurance, who may issue further penalties depending on the driver’s record. A subsequent offence will result in a seven-day licence suspension within 10 years.
MPI will also charge a $50 licence reinstatement fee on behalf of the government following the suspension.
“These stricter penalties mirror those for impaired driving because the consequences are just as serious,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler.
“This legislation underscores the seriousness of distracted-driving infractions and enacts stricter penalties for this behaviour.”
According to government data, distracted driving was the lead cause of collisions causing serious injury in 2017. Thirty people were killed and 184 people were seriously hurt on Manitoba roads last year because of distracted driving.