MPI reminding drivers to put phones away while driving

A dramatic video shows what can happen if you text and drive.
A dramatic video shows what can happen if you text and drive. STARS Air Ambulance/YouTube

With the long weekend just around the corner, officials with Manitoba Public Insurance and STARS Air Ambulance are reminding people to focus on their driving.

Alongside RCMP, EMS and firefighters, the agencies have teamed to produce a harrowing video, dramatizing the tragedy that can result from distracted driving.

“In 2015, 36 per cent of fatalities in this province involved distracted driving as a contributing factor,” explained Ward Keith with MPI. “We need to change the road safety culture so people stop doing it.”

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The above video was shot in May in Steinbach, viewed on site by more than 200 high school students. They were there to watch it all, from mock accident to a funeral, with the hope that the message is drilled into them to never text and drive.

“When we talk about distracted driving, it could be talking to kids in the backseat, it could be eating, personal grooming, changing the radio, but the most common forms are talking on a cellphone and texting while driving,” Keith said. “That is what we’re really concerned about.”

Keith also added that there are, on average, about 5,000 convictions for distracted driving each year, and this year there have been about 2,700 so far.