Credits: JIM WELLS/QMI AGENCY
The Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy looked at safety numbers in Manitoba and said highway fatalities reached an all-time high during the first year of legislation, which bans the use of mobile devices while people are driving.
"The danger of distracted driving legislation is that rather than complying, people tend to find ways to conceal their activities. This can result in more dangerous actions such as texting from below windshield level," a release about the study said.
The study noted there were 110 deaths following collisions on Manitoba highways in 2011. That was up sharply from 73 in 2010, and 92 in 2009.
"Correlation does not imply causation. After all, there are many factors involved in collisions," the report notes. "However, the increase in collisions and fatalities seems particularly suspicious, given that collisions attributed to drinking, drugs and speeding were lower in 2011 than in 2009. It is also worth noting that deaths attributed to alcohol, drugs, lack of seatbelts, speeding and intersections were all down in 2010, when the number
of collisions dipped. None of these has anything to do with distracted- driving legislation."
The report said even though the Manitoba data only looks at one year, it echoes studies from the U.S. where drivers have been banned from using cellphones and other hand-held devices behind the wheel.
The paper, authored by public policy analyst Steve Lafleur, was released Friday.