Two years after Manitoba banned cell phone use while driving, habits haven't changed much, according to a new survey.

CAA Manitoba surveyed 5,600 people about what they see on the road in regards to talking or texting on phones by drivers. Of those surveyed, 99.7 per cent said since the law came into effect on July 15, 2010, they still see motorists disobeying it.

That number is virtually unchanged from a similar survey in 2011, CAA said.

The biggest change from 2011 relates to the expectation people have that someone talking or texting will be caught by police.

Overall, 82.6 per cent of respondents believe it's unlikely offenders will be caught. That's up 15 per cent since 2011.

Also up from last year's survey is that 66 per cent of people believe demerits should be added to the almost $200 fine, to deter people from breaking the law. In 2011, just 58 per cent of people felt that should be the case.

And when it comes to new drivers, many respondents agree the rules need to be tougher. Similar to the zero-tolerance policy related to alcohol and new drivers on probation, zero tolerance should also apply to new drivers caught texting or talking behind the wheel, said 79.2 per cent of respondents.

In addition, 46.4 per cent of respondents said new drivers should also be banned from using cell phones behind the wheel, even if it is a hands-free device.

"The large majority of people agree new drivers need to be sent a strong message before they develop this dangerous habit," said Liz Peters, spokeswoman for CAA Manitoba.

The survey also asked respondents where they keep their cell phone while they are driving.

  • 27.7 per cent say they keep their cell phone within easy reach
  • 17.8 per cent of people say they keep it in the back seat, out of reach
  • 50 per cent of people keep it in a purse, pocket, or in their glove box
  • Only four per cent of respondents securely mount their phone on the dash as required by law if it is to be used in hands-free mode.