Manitoba Public Insurance is once again asking drivers to put down the phone.
The crown corporation, along with a half-dozen police agencies across the province, is targeting drivers who continue to use handheld electronic devices when behind the wheel. A continuation of an initiative that started last November, the project will see MPI fund additional enforcement officials in an attempt to curb the dangerous practice.
The RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police service and enforcement agencies in Winkler, Morden and Rivers are participating in the program.
"Reducing fatalities on our roadways is accomplished by the proactive combination of education, awareness and law enforcement," MPI spokeswoman MaryAnn Kempe said in a release. "According to recent polling conducted by our corporation, drivers who use handheld cell phones are consistently rated as the most serious safety problem in the province.
"Almost nine in 10 Manitobans say that cell phone use while driving is a serious problem."
According to MPI, the crackdown resulted in 1,800 provincial offences surrounding the use of handheld electronic devices in November. MPI claims data dating back to 2005 indicate there are approximately 25 road deaths per year in Manitoba attributed to distracted driving.
The fine for using a handheld electronic device while driving is a $200 ticket and two licence demerits.