Highway Traffic Act Amendments Will Also Prohibit Smoking in Vehicles When Children Are Present

The Honourable Ron L

The Honourable Ron Lemieux

Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) banning text messaging and talking on hand-held cell phones while driving will be the focus of an extensive public education campaign starting today, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux has announced. 

“We can’t say enough how important it is to pay full attention while driving a vehicle and bringing in this new law will address the issue of a major distraction, so motorists can focus on what matters most – the road,” said Lemieux. “We are committed to increasing safety on the province’s roads.”

The public education multimedia campaign will give motorists access to information they need prior to the amendments becoming law.

The new legislation, which will be proclaimed into law within the first half of 2010, will also place a ban on smoking in cars when children under the age of 16 are present.

“Education and raising awareness are both key factors in altering driver behaviour,” said Marilyn McLaren, CEO and president of Manitoba Public Insurance. “We know that some collisions in Manitoba are the direct result of driver distraction, be it texting or using a hand-held cell phone while driving. This is a road safety initiative which Manitoba Public Insurance fully supports.”

Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Quebec have comparable bans on hand-held cell phones and Ontario has introduced legislation banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Several jurisdictions have introduced prohibitions on smoking in vehicles with children present including British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Yukon. 

Manitoba’s legislation allows communication devices when used in a hands-free manner.

Details on the multimedia campaign and more information on the new legislation are available at http://www.gov.mb.ca/seethesigns/.