Despite an ongoing campaign by law enforcement officials to remind drivers not to use any form of hand-held electronic device while operating their motor vehicles, it seems that drivers throughout Manitoba are still practicing distracted driving. According to records kept by Manitoba Public Insurance, 1,500 Manitoba drivers in April of 2014 were issued tickets because they were observed to be using electronic hand-held devices to either text or talk while operating their vehicles. This number is down just 300 tickets from November of 2013 during which an effort was underway to get drivers to stop talking and texting.
MPI sponsored a month-long emphasis on enforcing the ban against cell phone texting and talking while driving, with police officials from six different agencies out in force to ticket drivers who have not been compliant. Both MPI and law enforcement officials say they are very concerned that there are still too many drivers on the roadways today who have not taken the no talking and texting message seriously enough. The ongoing effort to stop drivers from driving while distracted by their electronic devices is an attempt to help drivers truly understand just how dangerous their behavior is, not only to themselves and their passengers, but also to every other driver on the road.
MPI reports that although in polls, a full 90% of Manitoba residents agree that distracted driving is extremely dangerous, there continue to be many drivers throughout Manitoba who think nothing of playing around with their cell phone or other hand-held electronic device while they are behind the wheel of their vehicle. At least 25 fatalities result annually as a direct result of distracted driving in Manitoba. But MPI and police officials alike are concerned that even fines of two demerits and $200 aren’t enough to discourage drivers.