Road Safety


Just the facts

  • More than 1,839 Manitobans are injured each year due to distracted driving, 102 of them seriously or fatally, on average (2011-2015).
  • One in three deaths and one in five serious injuries on Manitoba roads involve a distracted driver, on average (2011-2015).
  • 11,093 drivers were involved in collisions due to distracted driving in 2016.
  • Over 5,200 drivers were convicted for using a hand-held electronic device while driving in 2016.

Tragedy can occur in a split second when drivers allow their focus to shift away from the road. Trying to concentrate on two things at once is risky behaviour and can prove deadly ‒ anywhere at any time.

Researchers study distracted drivers

Recent research and studies show the dangers of distracted driving – particularly of using a handheld device while driving.

  • Some form of distraction is observed in over two-thirds of collisions.
  • You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you talk on your phone while driving, even while using a hands-free device.
  • Texting makes you six times more likely to be in a crash, while dialing a hand-held cell makes you 12 times more likely. These both involve three major distractions: visual, physical and cognitive (thinking).
  • Using a cellphone reduces the type of brain activity needed for driving by as much as 37 per cent.
  • A demanding phone conversation can impair reaction time and ability to maintain lane position, equivalent to having a .07 per cent blood-alcohol content. Texting impairs similarly to 0.1 per cent blood-alcohol content.
  • Even talking on a hands-free cell phone can make you fail to see up to 50 per cent of the information in your driving environment. This can make you react slowly, or not at all, in an emergency.
  • A voice-activated task using an in-vehicle information system (such as making a music selection or requesting a contact/call) can be mentally demanding. This can reduce attention to driver surroundings for up to 27 seconds after the task is completed. At 40 km/h, drivers will travel more than three football fields in this interval.
  • Voice-to-text technology can disrupt your driving performance to the same degree as manual texting.

Other distractions that can increase the risk of collision, in order:

  • reading or writing while driving
  • reaching for an object other than a cell phone
  • an extended glance at an outside object
  • reaching for a cell phone
  • browsing on a cell phone
  • operating other in-vehicle controls or devices
  • interacting with passengers (particularly with teen passengers)
  • eating and drinking
  • attending to personal hygiene
  • dancing in your seat to music