Manitoba issues 22K$ in fines for texting while driving in one day
On the first day of enforcing the new Highway Traffic Act, which prohibits motorists from talking on a hand-held cellphone, texting while driving and smoking with a child under the age of 16 in a car, police officers had issued more than 100 tickets, which should translate in 21,778.20$ in fines.
Of the 109 tickets issued on July 15, only one driver was fined for smoking with kids in the car. The other 108 were caught using their cell phone while driving. Drivers caught in the act receive a 199.80$ fine but do not loose points on their license. Hands-free devices are permitted.
“We are increasing safety on our roads and promoting healthier living for children. The message to Manitobans is this: when you’re on the road, keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel,”" said Manitoba’s minister of Transportation, Steve Ashton.
According to Sgt. Doug Safioles of the Winnipeg police’s central traffic unit, officers will pay more attention to drivers using a cell phone starting from now on.
“It needs to be put in a holder that’s affixed to your car…even a cup holder, something that’s solid. It can’t be lying on your lap. You can be holding it. You can’t even be looking at it,” he said.
Manitoba joins a group of 7 others provinces who have regulated on cell phone use when driving, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Alberta should introduce a similar legislation in the fall.
Source: CBC News, July 15, 2010; CTV Winnipeg, July 15, 2010