Significant increase in speed-related Serious Driving Offences: Manitoba Public Insurance

Far too many drivers are travelling at dangerous speeds, endangering the lives of other motorists on Manitoba roadways, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

Over the last three months ─ April to June ─ a total of 148 speed-related Serious Driving Offences (SDO) have been forwarded to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. This is a 60 per cent increase compared to the same time frame in 2019 when 93 SDOs were forwarded to MPI by Manitoba police agencies.

As per the Drivers and Vehicles Act, speed infractions (50 km/h or more over the limit) are one of several offences that must be reported to the Registrar. After receiving the Serious Offense Notice roadside, drivers are given five business days to contact MPI to schedule a Show Cause Hearing.

MPI statistics report that about 90 per cent of these Show Cause hearings result in licence suspension, which is based on the speed recorded on the ticket and the person’s driving history. Length of license suspension can range from several months to multiple years.

“About one in five road fatalities last year in Manitoba had speed as a contributing factor,” said Satvir Jatana, Vice-President, Employee and Community Engagement, Manitoba Public Insurance. “The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to reduced traffic volumes on Manitoba roadways. Unfortunately, many drivers seem to think this is an opportunity to speed and travel at very dangerous speeds.”

Of the speed-related SDOs forwarded to MPI, the average speed from April to June, 2020 was 59km over the posted speed limit. The highest speed recorded was 98km over the limit (178 in an 80 km zone).

“Such high-risk driving behaviour is a risk to everyone who travels our roadways. Innocent people should be allowed to travel safely,” said Jatana.

Police agree that high speeds present a danger to the general public.

"The Winnipeg Police Service continues to see drivers risking their lives and the lives on others on the roads by driving at excessive speeds,” says Inspector Gord Spado, Traffic Division, Winnipeg Police Service.

“Speeding increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle, particularly during evasive maneuvers, and has a negative impact on reaction time and stopping distance, not to mention severity of injury and damage. We will continue to conduct speed enforcement through both traditional and automated means to enhance road safety for all road users."

Police agencies in rural Manitoba also have safety concerns on rural roadways.

“Every day, our officers are seeing irresponsible drivers risking their lives, and the lives of others, by driving at incredibly high-rates of speed,” said Inspector Chris Moore, Officer in Charge of Traffic Service for the Manitoba RCMP. “Our officers will continue to conduct traffic enforcement across the province to hold these drivers to account for their actions and to make our roads safer for all.”

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