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MPI premiums to target bad driving in school zones

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Manitoba drivers will be paying to help police enforce traffic in school zones.

Manitoba Public Insurance announced today that insurance premiums will be used to pay police to not only enforce traffic in school zones, but also to enforce the province’s laws preventing motorists from passing school buses with the stop sign out.

MPI said an exact dollar amount won’t be set until the amount of roadside traffic enforcement is determined by police. But spokesman Brian Smiley said it won’t cost drivers much.

"It will cost our customers less than five cents each for a service that is protecting Manitoba children," Smiley said.

The move comes one day after CAA Manitoba and police officials conducted their annual school-zone assessment.

During a 90 minute span on Wednesday morning outside three local schools, they tallied almost 1,700 driving infractions including a driver doing 77 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone, another texting at a red light, and another applying make-up.

"Manitoba drivers need to remember that these are our kids trying to get to school safely," Andrew Swan, the province’s Minister responsible for MPI, said in a statement.

"Drivers need to be smart and be safe in school zones and around school buses."

MaryAnn Kempe, MPI’s vice-president of community and corporate relations, said "we all know that too many drivers continue to drive dangerously through school zones and around school buses.

"Changing driver behaviour involves a three-pronged approach: education, awareness and law enforcement."

The campaign, which starts immediately, will see MPI give funding to the Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police Service, and the RCMP.

MPI already funds the RoadWatch program which enforces laws against drunk drivers.

The fine for passing a stopped school bus is $673, while the fine for passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian in a crossing or passing a vehicle in a pedestrian corridor is almost $200.

History

Updated on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM CDT: Adds cost comment.

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