[caption id="attachment_80752" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Manitoba Police Launch Spring Offensive Against Distracted Drivers
[/caption]Manitoba, Canada - As anyone who has basic auto insurance, or autopac, understands, there's only one place in this province of 1.2 million people to buy it: the Crown Corporation known as Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation or MPI. Now, Manitoba may be a prairie province, but that doesn't mean that driving claims are sparse. As of 2011, MPI the average number of claims being reported daily was well over 1,000 with a total value of $2.4 million.
Against that backdrop, it helps understand MPI's motivation in granting law enforcement officers $180,000 to fund their spring offensive to crack down on distracted drivers. Statistically speaking, distracted driving is the leading cause of auto related deaths across Canada surpassing driving under the influence or reckless driving. MPI's contribution is therefore pennies on the dollar compared to what is cost to pay automobile claims involving loss of life.
A number of what are called "high-visibility" road checks are being staged throughout the province which will drive the message home that the police are taking the threat of distracted driving serious. Taking part in the crackdown are Police Services in Brandon, Morden, Rivers, Winkler, Winnipeg, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Thus far, 1,800 citations have been issued since November. As per MPI, there are 25 deaths attributed to distracted driving annually as of 2005. Police express frustration that the public is not "getting it" when it comes to the dangers posed by distracted driving.
However, it may be that people are coming to understand this, but that fact is being obscured by the sheer number of people adopting smartphones and tablets. Tablet and smartphone technology have boomed over the past several years with more people adopting the technology. Neither have the penalties for distracted driving increased in Manitoba as they have in Ontario.