Road Safety


Just the facts

  • More than 1,839 Manitobans are injured each year due to distracted driving, 102 of them seriously or fatally.1
  • In 2016, 11,093 drivers were involved in collisions due to distracted driving.1
  • In 2016, over 5,200 drivers were convicted for using a hand-held electronic device while driving.2
  • One in three deaths and one in five serious injuries on Manitoba roads involve a distracted driver. 1

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.

  • Using a cellphone while driving reduces brain activity associated with driving by 37 per cent.3
  • 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. 3

Researchers study distracted drivers

The increase in drivers’ cellphone and smartphone use over the past decade has researchers looking at how these technologies have changed driver behaviour, and at the dangers posed by these and other distractions.

A meta-analysis of the effects of texting on driving
Accident Analysis and Prevention, Volume 71 (2014)

Key findings:

  • Twenty-eight experimental studies of texting and driving were identified and analyzed.
  • Typing and reading text messages adversely affected nearly all measures of safe driving.
  • Texting while driving produces visual, cognitive and physical driver distraction.

Defining distraction: It's not just cellphones
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Data Loss Institute
Status Report, Volume 49, No. 8 (2014)

Key findings:

  • Cell phone use was a contributing factor for 12 per cent of distraction-related crash deaths in the United States in 2012.
  • The other 88 per cent of crashes in which distraction was listed as a contributing factor involved some other kind of driver distraction.
  • Discussions regarding distracted driving center around cell phone use and texting, but distracted driving also includes other activities such as eating, talking to other passengers, or adjusting the radio or climate controls just to name a few.

A Comparison of the Effect of Mobile Phone Use and Alcohol Consumption on Driving Simulation Performance
Traffic Injury Prevention Vol. 13, Issue 6 (2012)

Researchers from several universities measured people’s reaction times and ability to maintain lane position on a closed course driving at 37 to 50 km/h while talking on a cellphone and texting, first when sober and then under various levels of alcohol impairment.

Key findings:

  • Drivers having a cognitively demanding phone conversation exhibited driving skills equivalent to having a 0.07 per cent blood-alcohol content. (Manitoba’s legal level is 0.05 per cent.)
  • Drivers who were texting exhibited driving skills equivalent to having a 0.1 per cent blood-alcohol content. (Criminal Code of Canada offence level is 0.08 per cent.)


1 2016 Traffic Collision Statistics Report, Manitoba Public Insurance
2 Traffic Accident Report Database, Manitoba Public Insurance, 2017
3 National Safety Council, 2012