RoadWatch takes aim at impaired drivers: Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance is once again sponsoring the highly successful RoadWatch program, with this year’s announcement coinciding with Canada Road Safety Week (May 12-18).

Now in its 17th year, RoadWatch begins again this Victoria Day long weekend. Manitoba’s public auto insurer will provide funding to nine police agencies (Winnipeg, RCMP, Brandon, Morden, Winkler, Altona, Dakota, Rivers and Ste. Anne) to conduct additional impaired driving roadside checks until the end of November.

“Manitoba Public Insurance is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to eliminate alcohol-related deaths and injuries,” said Ward Keith, acting Vice President, Business Development & Communications and Chief Product Officer, Manitoba Public Insurance. “While fatalities and serious injuries related to impaired driving have been declining steadily over the past 10 years, we still lose far too many Manitobans in impaired driving crashes every single year.”

Nearly 1,300 impaired drivers have been removed from Manitoba roads over the past five years as part of the program – including more than 300 last year. With road safety at the forefront, the launch of this year’s RoadWatch aligns with Canada Road Safety Week, a national weeklong effort to raise awareness about safe driving habits that runs from May 12-18.

“By combining visible enforcement with public education, we are optimistic that Manitobans will think twice before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking,” said Keith.

Keeping impaired drivers off Manitoba roads benefits is also a priority of law enforcement.

“With the spring and summer seasons upon us, more cars are on the road,” said Inspector Joanne Keeping, Officer in Charge of Traffic Services with the RCMP and Chair of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Committee.

“It is essential for law enforcement and our road safety partners to work together to deter, reduce and prevent dangerous driving on Manitoba roadways. We are always working towards zero fatalities on the road, and high visibility RoadWatch Checkstops are one more way we are doing this.”

RoadWatch quick facts:

  • Last year’s RoadWatch program featured 99 road-side checks resulting in 73,000 vehicles being screened
  • In addition to impaired driving offences, more than 1,700 Highway Traffic Act offence notices were issued for a variety of offenses, including suspended drivers, speeding, texting while driving and non-seatbelt use.

Who is driving impaired?

  • Young males make up the majority of those involved in impaired collisions ─ male drivers are involved in three out of four impaired driving collisions. Police data reports that male drivers make up 77 per cent of total drivers charged with impaired driving compared to 23 per cent for females.
  • Younger drivers (both male and female) are involved more often in impaired collisions. As driver age increases, the instances of impaired driving collisions decrease for both sexes but more rapidly for females.
  • About one in three Manitoba road fatalities involve an impaired driver.
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