News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 30, 2015

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES TOUGHER SANCTIONS AIMED AT DISTRACTED DRIVERS TAKE EFFECT JULY 1



High-risk drivers who endanger other motorists or pedestrians by using hand-held electronic communication devices while driving will face tougher sanctions starting July 1, Attorney General Gord Mackintosh, minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance, announced today.

“This change sends a clear message to all Manitobans that our government is committed to ensuring the safety of everyone on the road,” said Minister Mackintosh.  “We know that distracted driving is a serious problem in our province that contributes to collisions, fatalities and serious injuries.”

Beginning tomorrow, motorists convicted of using hand-held electronic devices while driving will drop five levels on Manitoba Public Insurance’s Driver Safety Rating (DSR) scale.  Once in effect, Manitoba will lead the country in having the highest demerit sanction associated with talking on hand-held cellphones or texting while driving, the minister said.

An average of 28 people are killed due to distracted driving each year in Manitoba, while nearly 2,500 distracted drivers are involved in collisions annually.

“There is no denying that talking on a hand-held cellphone and texting are both major distractions while driving,” said Minister Mackintosh.  “Even the quickest phone call or shortest text message when behind the wheel can result in tragedy.”

A drop of five levels on the DSR can have a significant impact on the cost of a driver’s licence and entitlement to vehicle insurance discounts over the five years it takes to return to a pre-conviction placement.  Financial sanctions will range from about $300 for the very best drivers to $3,000 or more for drivers with already poor driving records.  Before this change, a conviction for talking on a cellphone or texting while driving resulted in two demerits in addition to a $200 fine.

The minister indicated Manitoba Public Insurance’s Driver Safety Rating system is designed to encourage safe driving.  Motorists who drive safely move up the scale and receive larger discounts on their driver’s licence and vehicle insurance premiums.  High-risk drivers, including those who are convicted of talking or texting while driving, move down the scale, which increases the cost of their driver’s licence and affects their entitlement to vehicle insurance discounts.

More information on the Driver Safety Rating system, including the financial impacts of moving up or down the scale, is available on the Manitoba Public Insurance website at www.mpi.mb.ca/en/DL/DL/DSR/pages/dsroverview.aspx

- 30 -