August 29, 2014 5:55 pm

Tougher penalties needed for drivers using cells: CAA

Tom Boland/The Canadian Press

Tom Boland/The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG-Drivers in Manitoba are still using their cell phones behind the wheel and one organization would like to see them receive tougher penalties for doing so.

In Saskatchewan, after two distracted driving infractions, police impound the vehicle for a week.

In Manitoba, the law currently allows for a fine and demerit points on a driver’s license.

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Manitoba CAA is suggesting that more needs to be done to get the message across to drivers, “99 per cent of our members say they see somebody regularly texting or talking on the phone while driving,” said Mike Mager, President and CEO of CAA Manitoba. “You take that phone away and they’re going to react.”

One in every four accidents where a death is involved is attributed to destructive driving, according to CAA Manitoba. It’s research shows that people are 23 times more likely to have an accident if they are texting and driving.

“We just want to make sure that what we do is worthwhile,” said Andrew Swan, Manitoba Justice Minister. “I think some places may have some interesting ideas and we’re leaving open the door to moving down that road.”

With other provinces stepping up their enforcement and penalties, Mager thinks that something needs to be done fast to prevent accidents.

“I don’t want to have to see a circumstance where somebody gets killed and we have to publicize and say somebody lost their life because somebody was talking on the phone,” Mager said.

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