Distracted driving is anything that diverts your attention from the responsibilities you have as a driver. If something causes you to take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or your mind off the task of driving, it is a distraction. And being distracted, even if it’s just for a few seconds, is all it takes to cause a fatal crash.
One of the most dangerous and preventable driving distractions is using a hand-held electronic device while behind the wheel.
Every year in Manitoba, roughly 30 people die in collisions involving distracted driving.
When you’re behind the wheel, give your full attention to the road. It’s your job to keep yourself, your passengers and other road users safe. Let calls go to voicemail, use a notifications blocking app for driving, let your passenger answer calls and texts for you or just pull over. When you’re a driver, driving should be your only task.
On average, one in three deaths and one in three serious injuries on Manitoba roads involve a distracted driver.
In Manitoba, it is illegal to use a hand-held electronic device while driving. This includes everything from smartphones and iPods to tablets.
Drivers caught violating this law receive three-day licence suspension for a first offence and a seven-day suspension for subsequent offences. Upon conviction, they also receive a $672 fine and move five levels down the Driver Safety Rating (DSR) scale.
In serious cases, or when other distractions cause you to violate traffic laws or end up in a collision, you could be charged with a number of offences, including careless driving, dangerous driving or criminal negligence. These can result in more severe penalties (including jail time) and other driving interventions. You can also be charged with whatever offence the distraction caused you to commit, such as failing to obey a traffic signal
Road safety is everyone’s business. If you’re a passenger and your driver is talking, texting or tweeting, scrolling a playlist or even checking for updates behind the wheel, speak up, remind them that it is against the law and insist they put the phone away. Along with saving them from a hefty fine and possible suspension, you could have just saved yourself from a collision. You can also help others help themselves. When you call someone, ask if they are driving. If they are, call back later.