Man. driver cell ban nets $22K on 1st day

Manitoba begins enforcing bans on using cellphones while driving, texting while driving and smoking with children in the car, and police issue 109 tickets the first day.

Also banned: texting while driving, smoking with children in the car

Manitoba has begun enforcing bans against using cellphones while driving, texting while driving and smoking with children in the car.

At the end of business hours Thursday, the first day of enforcement, police had already issued more than 100 tickets.

Driving while using a cellphone can draw a $199.80 fine in Manitoba as of Thursday. ((CBC))

Violating any one of the amendments to the Highway Traffic Act draws a $199.80 fine, so nearly $22,000 in expected revenue was generated from the first day of enforcement.

Police said that between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT, 109 tickets were handed out to drivers spotted talking on their cellphones while driving, One motorist was fined for smoking with kids in the car.

"The message to Manitobans is this: when you’re on the road, keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel," Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said in a news release. "And when there are kids in the car, butt out your cigarettes."

RCMP Insp. Mark LeMaistre of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police said there is a direct connection between the use of electronic devices and dangerous driving.

"Study after study has shown that drivers who talk or text on a hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle significantly increased their crash risk," said LeMaistre.

A government statement said:

  • Cellphone use is the number one source of driver inattention.
  • Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision.
  • Drivers who use cellphones are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to hurt them.

Bans against smoking in a vehicle when a child under 16 is present help young people avoid taking up the habit, said Dr. Annette Schultz, an assistant professor at the faculty of nursing at the University of Manitoba.

British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick also ban smoking with a child in the car.

Manitoba joins British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in banning cellphone use while driving, and Alberta recently introduced similar legislation.

The Manitoba law allows cellphone use while driving if the equipment is hands-free.

The law also allows use of a hand-held cellphone in an emergency.