Enforcement of New Law Banning Hand-held Cellphone Use, Text Messaging While Driving Starts Tomorrow

Jul 14, 2010 | Government News

Law Also Prohibits Smoking in Vehicles When Children are Present 

Enforcement of Manitoba’s bans on talking on hand-held electronic devices, texting while driving and smoking in vehicles with children in the car starts tomorrow, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton announced today. 

The Honourable Steve Ashton

“The message to Manitobans is this – when you’re on the road, keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel. And when there are kids in the car, butt out your cigarettes,” said Ashton.  “We are increasing safety on our roads and promoting healthier living for children.  And, as of tomorrow, those measures will be backed up with fines.” 

The amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, which will be proclaimed into law tomorrow, July 15, both carry a fine of $199.80. 

“There’s a direct connection between use of electronic devices and dangerous driving,” said RCMP Insp. Mark LeMaistre, of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police.  “Study after study has shown that drivers who talk or text on a hand-held electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle significantly increased their crash risk.  In an effort to improve road safety and healthy living, the province has legislated two new laws that take effect today.  Enforcement actions begin tomorrow provincewide and these new laws will carry a fine.” 

“The vehicle is one environment where parents can influence their children’s susceptibility to smoking in the future,” said Dr. Annette Schultz, an assistant professor in the faculty of nursing at the University of Manitoba and an investigator at the psychosocial oncology and cancer nursing research group at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre.  “And our research suggests that enforced vehicle smoking bans support youth in maintaining a resolve to remain smoke free, regardless of the smoking status of the parent.” 

British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have laws banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and Alberta recently introduced such legislation. Several jurisdictions prohibit smoking in vehicles with children present, including British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. 

Manitoba’s new law allows cellphone use while driving to make telephone calls if the equipment is a hands-free device and used in a hands-free manner. The law also allows use of a hand-held cellphone, in an emergency, to call the police, fire or ambulance service. 

More information is available at www.manitoba.ca/seethesigns

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: CELLPHONE USE FACTS 

  • 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 injure themselves.
  • The number one source of driver inattention is cellphones.  Drivers talking on cellphones are nearly twice as likely to have rear-end collisions 

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