Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Manitoba drivers will have their short-term roadside licence suspended for using a cellphone or other hand-operated electronic devices while behind the wheel as changes to the Highway Traffic Act and the Drivers and Vehicles Act take effect on November 1, 2018.
Drivers will be subject to a three-day roadside licence suspension for the first time a driver is caught using a cellphone or other hand-operated electronic device, and a seven-day suspension for a subsequent occurrence within 10 years. Suspended drivers must surrender their driver’s licence at the roadside. Officers charging a driver with careless driving will have to notify Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) immediately to review the driver’s record and determine if further penalties may be required. MPI will also collect a $50.00 licence reinstatement fee.
“This legislation underscores the seriousness of distracted-driving infractions and enacts stricter penalties for this behaviour,” says Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler.
Other distracted driving penalties that will come into force include an increase in the fine for using a hand-operated electronic device while driving from $203.00 to $672.00 and an increase in demerits for careless driving from two to five points for each infraction.
As I see it, distracted driving is now a bigger problem than drinking and driving. Only a small percentage drink enough to be impaired and only a percentage of those would get behind the while. Almost everyone has a cellphone and more than half use the cellphone while driving. It does not have to be hard to find someone with a cellphone jammed in his/her ear. One can see drivers slowing down and speeding up for no good reason but to answer or direct a phone call.
I do wonder why some provinces are only now seeing the need to remove distracted drivers from the road. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been instrumental in making change at the government level. Mind you, MADD could also mean Mothers Against Distracted Driving as well. Maybe we can start Dads Against Distracted Driving. (DADD) Sounds like a good fit.
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Daniel L. Beal
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