What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in other activities, which takes your attention away from operating the vehicle. This can include:
- Texting or talking on a cell phone
- Putting on makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Putting on or removing clothing
In Manitoba the distracted driving law only applies to hand held electronic devices such as cell phones, smart phones and GPS systems. The distracted driving law was put into effect July 15, 2010 with a fine of $200.00. Three years later on August 1, 2013 government officials added two demerit points in addition to the $200.00 fine that is issued to drivers who use electronic hand held devices while driving.
Every province and territory in Canada has a distracted driving law in place, with the exception of Nunavut. To see a list of distracted driving laws click here for the most up to date information.
Changes In Other Provinces
In other provinces amendments have already been made to distracted driving laws which include harsher punishments for offenders.
In Saskatchewan drivers are fined $340.00 for using a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle. On June 27, 2014 the law was changed to now state that any person who is found using a wireless communication device twice within a one year period will have their vehicle impounded for seven days. (Source)
In March 2014 the Ontario government proposed a change to legislation asking for an increase in distracted driving fines. Currently drivers can be fined anywhere from $60 - $500 and they have proposed an increase of $300 - $1,000. As of yet the amendment to the law has not been passed. (Source)
In Nova Scotia they are working on re-writing the act on distracted driving to include activities such as shaving, applying makeup, eating and sitting a dog on the driver’s lap. As of yet the amendment to the law has not been passed. (Source)
CAA Manitoba's Campaign Against Distracted Driving
On the 4th anniversary of the implementation of the distracted driving law in Manitoba, CAA released the survey results from over 7,000 members on their thoughts about distracted driving. Members were asked if they felt that the extra demerits added to the fine for distracted driving were acting as more of a deterrent for drivers. An overwhelming 40% of Members who responded to the survey felt that the implementation of the additional demerits, along with the fine were not helping to stop Manitoba drivers from using their hand held electronic devices. This proves that more needs to be done to deter motorists from using hand held electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Distracted Driving 101
Distracted Driving 101 is an event put on by CAA to teach high school students the dangers of driving distracted. The event has taken place in Winnipeg and Brandon with students attempting to text, eat, put on clothing or put on make-up while driving. The objective of the event is to teach students from an early age that distracted driving is extremely dangerous and could be fatal. This event has taken place at Thunder Rapids Amusement Park in the Winnipeg area and at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.