Citing troubling statistics which have seen distracted driving-related crashes increase from 2,415 in 2011 to more than 11,000 in 2016, the Manitoba government is preparing to put the hammer down harder on drivers who continue to pose a risk to themselves and others: infrastructure minister Ron Schuler says that an automatic three day suspension will be imposed for a first-time offense, and a second one will result in a seven day suspension. The bill was approved by the minister today, and will be distributed on Monday so that the Opposition has time to peruse it.
The rules are aimed at people who can’t leave their phones alone, but, as is the case with other provinces, they also cover such things as “grooming your dog, putting makeup on, reading a book, cramming for your exam on the way to university” according to Schuler. This puts the license suspension component of distracted-impaired driving in the same league as alcohol-impaired driving in Manitoba, where a BAC over .08 while behind the wheel will get you a three day suspension, potential criminal charges and a minimum fine of $1,000 upon conviction. The current hit for distracted driving is a $200 fine and five demerit points.
Ontario is getting ready to slam distracted drivers even harder: under new rules, a first offense would result in a three day suspension and a $1,000 fine. Second timers would pay $2,000 and lose their license for a week. Subsequently, repeat offenders would get a 30 day suspension, a $3,000 bill and six demerit points.