Manitobans admit to using cell phones while driving
Posted February 18, 2012
Manitoba drivers are not putting down their handheld devices, according to a recent Manitoba Public Insurance survey. In efforts to reduce distracted-driving collisions, Manitoba Public Insurance announced it is providing $120,000 in funding to police agencies — Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP, and Brandon Police Service — to conduct targeted, dedicated enforcement towards distracted drivers during the month of February.
“Manitoba Public Insurance’s objective is to help raise awareness that if drivers choose to drive while using a handheld device, there are consequences,” said Ted Hlynsky, Vice-President, Claims Control & Safety Operations, Manitoba Public Insurance.
“There’s a human and economic cost associated with distracted driving crashes,” said Hlynsky. “A person’s life can dramatically change forever due to driving while distracted. The Corporation also pays out millions of dollars in benefits as the direct result crashes caused by a distracted driver. A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a collision than a non-texting driver.” Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act was amended in July 2010 to prohibit drivers from using any hand-operated electronic device (including cellphones) while driving. Drivers caught doing so by police will receive a ticket of $199.80. Manitoba law does allow for the use of hand-free devices. Results of survey
Nearly 40 per cent of respondents admitted to using a handheld device while driving, said Hlynsky. A total of 800 Manitobans participated in the Manitoba Public Insurance commissioned poll.
Distracted driving poll highlights include:
- Nine in 10 Manitobans (92 percent) think it is likely for a driver to get into an accident when using a hand-held cell phone while driving, including 59 percent who say it is very likely.
- As age increases, so does apparent concern for drivers using a hand-held cell phone while driving. Younger adults are the least likely to rate this as a very serious problem compared to older adults.
When asked to name a single greatest driving problem in Manitoba:
- 26% cited speeding/ driving too fast for conditions
- 23% cited cell phone use while driving
- 21% cited drinking and driving
- 17% cited drivers not paying attention
“Many people reported using their cellphone at least once in the last 10 times they drove,” said Hlynsky. “They explained the purpose of their call was either work or speaking with a family member. A total of eight in 10 respondents acknowledged using a hand held cell phone is a serious problem.”
J. J. Keller's No Texting Wallet Card informs drivers of the regulations and consequences of violations.