April 4, 2019 11:56 am

MPI funding police in Winnipeg, Brandon, Winkler, Morden and RCMP to help catch distracted drivers

RCMP say too many people are still confused about what constitutes distracted driving.

File / Global News

Manitoba’s crown insurance corporation says they are once again helping fund local police agencies to help them catch distracted drivers.

“On average, one in three road deaths and thousands of collisions are attributed to distracted driving annually,” said Satvir Jatana, communications VP for Manitoba Public Insurance.

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“These dedicated projects are highly successful, resulting in nearly 13,000 offence notices issued over the last six years. Changing driver behaviour can be achieved by the combination of education, awareness and law enforcement.”

READ MORE: Texting and driving, Manitoba? Prepare to pay $672 and lose your licence for three days

MPI will provide about $175,000 in funding for police agencies in Brandon, Morden, Winkler and Winnipeg, as well as RCMP detachments for special enforcement programs happening in April, July and October.

The programs will concentrate on catching those texting and driving or otherwise distracted behind the wheel.

A driver is four times more likely to crash if they’re talking on the phone while driving, and six times more likely if they’re texting and driving, according to MPI. Crashes from distracted driving costs MPI $70 million yearly.

“Drivers caught using a hand-operated electronic device while driving will receive an automatic three-day driver licence suspension and $672 fine. Upon conviction, the driver will also move down five levels on their Driver Safety Rating,” said MPI.

“A second offence, within a 10-year period, results in an automatic seven-day driver licence suspension and $672 fine. Conviction will also result in five demerits.”

WATCH: We break down the new fines and penalties for distracted driving in Manitoba

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