LOCAL NEWS

DISTRACTED DRIVERS – Pay the Piper

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On Friday, April 3, 2013, the WPS issued a public advisory indicating they had issued a total of two-hundred & twenty-one (221) Provincial offence notices for Distracted Driving during the month of April.

The cell phone law came into effect in July of 2010, a year that saw the WPS issue 1,192 Provincial offence notices to “distracted drivers.”  It seems Winnipeg drivers are slow to get the message that distracted driving is a dangerous unlawful activity and one that will be subject to aggressive enforcement.

Police report the following figures regarding distracted driving offence notices issued:

  • 2010 – 1192  Provincial offence notices
  • 2011 – 3568  Provincial offence notices
  • 2012 – 4837  Provincial offence notices
  • 2013 – 764    Provincial offence notices

According to MPI, texting, eating, smoking and personal grooming while driving is believed to be responsible for killing more than one hundred and sixty (160) people on Manitoba roadways since 2005.  A spokesperson for MPI also advised that a texting driver, whose eyes are focused on their device, presents a significant danger to other motorists in that the time spent sending an average text message is 4.6 seconds.  At 90 km/hr, your vehicle will travel the length of a CFL football field in that amount of time.

The fine for distracted driving is around $200.

Police Officers, Firefighters and Ambulance drivers who use a cell phone in the performance of their duties are exempt from the Law.

FACTOID:

Since the distracted driving law came on the books in July of 2010, the WPS has issued a total of 10,361 Provincial Offence notices.

10,361 x $200 = $2,072,200

That is a lot of cabbage!

THE LAW:

HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT

Definitions:  hand-operated electronic devices

215.1(1)    The following definitions apply in this section.

“hand-operated electronic device” means

(a) a cellular telephone;

(b) another electronic device that

(i) includes a telephone function, and

(ii) normally is held in the user’s hand during use or requires the user to use his or her hand to operate any of its functions;

(c) an electronic device that is not otherwise described in clause (a) or (b) but that

(i) is capable of transmitting or receiving e-mail or other text-based messages, and

(ii) normally is held in the user’s hand during use or requires the user to use his or her hand to operate any of its functions; or

(d) any other electronic device that is prescribed as a hand-operated electronic device by the regulations. (« appareil électronique à commande manuelle »)

“use”, in relation to a hand-operated electronic device, means any of the following actions:

(a) holding the device in a position in which it may be used;

(b) operating any of the device’s functions;

(c) communicating by means of the device with another person or another device, by spoken word or otherwise;

(d) looking at the device’s display; and

(e) taking any other action with or in relation to the device that is prescribed by the regulations. (« utiliser »)

Using hand-operated electronic device while driving prohibited

215.1(2)    No person shall use a hand-operated electronic device while driving a vehicle on a highway unless,

(a) before using the device by hand, the person safely drives the vehicle off the roadway and keeps the vehicle stationary while using the device; or

(b) the device

(i) is a cellular telephone or another electronic device that includes a telephone function, and

(ii) is configured and equipped to allow hands-free use as a telephone and is used in a hands-free manner.

Exception

215.1(3)    As an exception to subsection (2), a person may use a hand-operated electronic device by hand to call or send a message to a police force, fire department or ambulance service about an emergency.

Exception — police, fire and ambulance personnel

215.1(4)    Subsection (2) does not apply to any of the following persons in relation to the use of a hand-operated electronic device in carrying out his or her duties:

(a) a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force or another police officer, police constable or constable;

(b) a firefighter employed by a fire department;

(c) an ambulance operator as defined in section 1 of The Emergency Medical Response and Stretcher Transportation Act.

 

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