310 tickets were handed out to drivers using their phones while behind the wheel in April, during MPI's Distracted Driving program, compared to 175 last year in April, an increase of 135.
Of those 310 tickets, 174 or 56% were issued in the Steinbach area over the course of 11 non-consecutive days.
MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley says one in four fatalities on Manitoba roads are related to distracted driving and last year had the highest number of road fatalities within a decade. Smiley notes using a cellphone is one form of distracting driving, though it can also include fiddling with the radio, having an animated conversation with a passenger, or staring out the windows instead of focusing on the road
"While you're driving, perhaps [you're] eating a hamburger or eating lunch, [that's distracted driving]. We know there are people out there going to work putting makeup on while they're driving, that's distracted driving also. Anything that takes your focus off the road and the task at hand, which is driving, would be considered distracted driving by definition."
RCMP teamed up with MPI in April and were in several areas of the province, including Steinbach, handing out tickets to those who couldn't leave their phone alone while driving. Two of the 310 drivers were also found to be impaired by alcohol.
A ticket for distracted driving is $203.80 and will result in five demerits upon conviction.