Winnipeg drivers distracted by cellphones paid big in April.

Manitoba Public Insurance said its month-long enforcement campaign nabbed and ticketed close to 1,500 Winnipeggers who were spotted using electronic mobile devices behind the wheel.

Six Manitoba police agencies have been involved in the project.

“Distracted driving is extremely dangerous driver behaviour,” stated MaryAnn Kempe, MPI vice-president of Community & Corporate Relations, in a press release. “The numbers clearly show that some drivers continue to break the law and place innocent motorists at risk."

  • Approximately 25 road deaths annually in Manitoba are associated with distracted driving (Manitoba Public Insurance claims data, 2005 to present).
  • The penalty for using a hand-held electronic device while driving is a $200 ticket plus two demerits.

Close to 90 per cent of Manitobans surveyed said they thought cellphone use while driving is a serious problem, Kempe said.

“Reducing fatalities on our roadways is accomplished by the proactive combination of education, awareness and law enforcement," said Kempe. "It’s against the law to use an electronic hand-held device while driving and a recent poll by our corporation reflected Manitobans’ concerns."

In November last year, MPI funded an initiative that resulted in 1,800 provincial offence notices being handed out to distracted drivers.