Although a ban in Manitoba has been in place for one year now, Manitobans are still talking and texting behind the wheel of a car. A CAA Manitoba survey states that 99.4 percent of the respondents had still seen motorists talking or texting behind the wheel and 30 percent admit to talking on their phone while driving.
The survey also shows that 68 percent of all respondents believe violators will not be caught and ticketed by police. Liz Peters, CAA Manitoba’s Public and Government Affairs Manager, admits that the enforcement is hard because police and RCMP have to be sure the driver is first violating the law to pull them over. She does say that 2,600 tickets have been issued in the City of Winnipeg, and also understands that the RCMP has also been active in rural areas. Peters believes compliance from citizens will be achieved after more offenders have been caught.
58 percent of all respondents believed demerit points should also be added to a $200 fine.
The survey interviewed 11,000 Manitobans. 48 percent owned a Bluetooth, but 38 percent use it “only on occasion”.
Peters feels that the study results show the opportunity to advance public awareness. She believes that people know about the law, but don’t know how dangerous talking or texting on a cell phone is while operating a vehicle. She notes that you are 23 times more likely to get in an accident while texting behind the wheel of a car.
Overall, Peters does feel that the law is effective but will take time to sink in with the public.
Respondents from the survey show that 49 percent say they believe the ban has made our roads safer.