Brandon students were sat in drivers’ seats and told to text and drive on Wednesday as part of a lesson on distracted driving.
Distracted driving tickets in Winnipeg
2010 - 1192 provincial offence notices
2011 - 3568 provincial offence notices
2012 - 4837 provincial offence notices
2013 - 764 provincial offence notices
Manitoba Public Insurance had students sit in golf carts and try to text while driving through a maze of cones in an effort to show them how dangerous distracted driving is.
About 20 students got the chance to participate in the exercise, which had them text the lyrics to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while they navigated the course.
Grade 12 student Skylar Martinook was one of the many students who saw crash after crash on the course. Martinook said before the exercise she was guilty of driving distracted.
“I could probably wait [to text], but I don’t. I’m impatient,” she said.
After the simulation, though, she said she’s changed her mind.
“It was really hard. I didn’t like it,” she said, adding the pylons on the course could have been people, and she doesn’t plan to text and drive any more.
The outcome was one CAA Manitoba and Brandon police were hoping for. The two teamed up to put on the event, which they say was a big success.
“They got off this track, and their eyes are just wide and their jaws are sometimes dropped,” said Liz Peters, the spokesperson for CAA. “They think, ‘Holy crow, I could really cause some damage if I continue to not focus on the job I’m supposed to be doing.’”
According to statistics from Manitoba Public Insurance, distracted driving kills 25 Manitobans every year, and drivers who text are 23 times more likely to hit something or someone.
“Last year, we handed out 335 tickets, and we know that is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Const. Dave Scott with the Brandon police. “This is one thing that does cause fatalities and bodily injury, and we certainly don’t want to see that happen.”
And getting caught texting and driving will cost you. In Manitoba, the ticket comes with a $200 fine and two demerits.