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Self-isolation due to coronavirus means 20 per cent fewer traffic collisions: MPI

MPI
Manitoba Public Insurance says collisions are down thanks to fewer cars on the roads during the COVID-19 pandemic. Global News/File

Fewer cars on Manitoba roads due to novel coronavirus safety measures mean fewer collisions — to the tune of roughly a 20 per cent reduction, according to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI).

MPI’s Brian Smiley told 680 CJOB that the lowered numbers are attributed to the coronavirus pandemic as more Manitobans choose to stay home.

“If you do a bit of driving through the downtown these days, rush hour is no longer called rush hour, it’s called quiet hour,” said Smiley.

READ MORE: Manitoba Public Insurance building in Winnipeg to become drive-thru coronavirus testing site

That quiet extends to people who want to renew driver’s licences, make payments, or do any other business with MPI or Autopac.

“We’re absolutely encouraging our customers to do any payments they have either online through their MPI website, or contacting their Autopac agent. They also have banking options through online banking through their financial institution,” he said.

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The limited amount of driving needed during self-isolation, however, could lead to discounts for some Manitoba vehicle owners.

Smiley said there are a number of options for drivers to change their type of insurance.

“One of the options they can look at is moving from the basic Autopac program to a layup option, which covers fire and theft, and the vehicle would remain parked.

“There’s also all-purpose vs. pleasure use. We know many customers are on the all-purpose, however, if they do decide they’re not going to drive very much due to the situation with COVID(-19) we’re looking at right now, they can speak to their Autopac agent or MPI.”

READ MORE: Uber’s venture into Winnipeg ‘testimony to understanding’ of local regulations: MPI

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Both options require a small fee to switch over, but Smiley said each could result in significant savings for motorists who aren’t driving — or are rarely driving — during the pandemic.

“We aren’t sure how many customers have done that yet — our data systems run end-of-month — but we know some have done it.”

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Although MPI locations remain open — except the Bison Drive location, which has been converted into a drive-through coronavirus testing site — the corporation has taken a number of steps toward social isolation.

All road tests have been cancelled until further notice. MPI has also cancelled all vision and knowledge tests, and all enhanced ID interviews.

People who have travelled outside of Manitoba in the last two weeks are being asked to avoid any MPI locations until their self-quarantine period is over.

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