First seven-day suspension handed out for using a smartphone while driving

A 60-something driver holds the dubious distinction of becoming the first person to receive a seven-day driver licence suspension for using a smartphone while driving. Manitoba’s new distracted driving laws took effect November 1.

The driver’s first offence occurred in late November, resulting in an automatic three-day driver licence suspension. His second offence took place in early January in Portage la Prairie.

In total, nearly 300 drivers have been suspended since the new law came into effect. A second offence, coming within a 10-year period, results in a seven-day driver licence suspension.

“Distracted driving can result in a fatal collision,” said Satvir Jatana, vice-president responsible for communications, Manitoba Public Insurance. “In 2017 alone, distracted driving was a contributing factor in more than 15,000 collisions, while 30 Manitobans lost their lives in distracted-related motor vehicle collisions.”

In addition to an immediate roadside suspension, drivers convicted of using a hand-operated electronic device while driving also face a fine of $672 and five demerits on their Driver Safety Rating Scale.

“Thanks to the front-line police officers who are working to keep our roads safe for everyone,” said Jatana. “The combination of law enforcement, education, heightened awareness and drivers changing their behaviour can Save the 100 on our roadways.”

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