Dauphin, Canada
CAA Manitoba says it supports the new distracted driving penalties from the province of Manitoba that officially came into effect this week.
 
Distracted driving offences now have a $200 fine and five demerit points on licenses.
 
Public affairs specialist Angele Young says they're hoping that the attitudes of drivers will change with tougher penalties in place.
 
"What we've seen year after year is that people are still choosing to drive distracted, so we're very glad that the government of Manitoba has increased those penalties and we're now among the toughest in Canada. We have five demerits and still that $200 fine so it's going to be a big hit on your license. We're really hoping that it'll help deter people from distracted driving."
 
Young says the CAA is pleased that the province is taking the issue of distracted driving very seriously.
 
"We can akin distracted driving a lot to impaired driving. It really is just as severe, and it should carry just as big penalties. With the government of Manitoba moving towards having more demerits, that's really making it known that it is a big deal and a very big offence."
 
Young says a recent survey amongst members show numerous cases of distracted driving in the province.
 
"Every year we survey CAA Manitoba members and every year they tell us that 99 per cent of people still say they see people text and drive. It was no surprise to us that they supported any increase in demerits, or fines or any other added deterrents to that."
 
The penalties used to be a $200 fine and two demerits.