RoadWatch highly successful: Manitoba Public Insurance increases funding

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May 20, 2011 – Funding for the highly successful RoadWatch program will be increased this year, Marilyn McLaren, President and CEO of Manitoba Public Insurance announced today at a RoadWatch checkstop.

“Visible enforcement is one of the most effective ways of deterring impaired driving behavior,” said McLaren. “RoadWatch is highly effective when combined with public awareness and education.

Manitoba’s public auto insurer will increase its 2010-11 funding to $583,000 from the previous $329,000. RoadWatch, now in its 13th year, combines increased law enforcement with a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing both the human and economic costs of impaired driving crashes. RoadWatch funding allows police agencies to conduct additional impaired driving roadside checks throughout the summer.

“Manitoba Public Insurance’s objective is to help raise awareness that if drivers choose to drive when impaired there are consequences, and that there are other options to get home,” said McLaren.

Manitoba Public Insurance and police agencies are committed to reducing the number of alcohol-related deaths and injuries on provincial roadways. On average, every year in Manitoba about 146 people are killed in traffic crashes. Alcohol is involved in about one-third of them.

“MADD Canada has repeatedly confirmed that Manitoba has the toughest drinking and driving laws in Canada,” said Attorney General Andrew Swan, minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). “RoadWatch complements the province’s strategy to get drinking drivers off the roads.”

Last year, RoadWatch participating police agencies – eight in total, including Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP and Brandon Police Service – provided 815 visibility hours, conducted 282 check stop dates over 103 days, screened 37,190 vehicles, removed 182 impaired drivers, issued 120 Liquor Control Act infractions and Controlled Drug Substance Act violations and 1,754 Highway Traffic Act offence notices.

“The success of RoadWatch is reflected in the number of drinking drivers removed from the roadways,” said Winnipeg Police Service Chief Keith McCaskill. “The high visibility of roadside checks sends a strong message to all drivers that police are out and looking for the drinking driver.”

Rural Manitoba drivers also see the front-line officers working RoadWatch.

“Many Manitoba families have been devastated by the actions of impaired drivers,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bill Robinson, Commanding Officer of RCMP “D” Division.

“Society no longer tolerates drinking and driving. RoadWatch is a highly effective strategy to taking these drivers off our roads, and making it safer for those who don’t drink and drive.”

About Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance is a non-profit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. Our services are available throughout Manitoba in claim centres and Customer Service centres. www.mpi.mb.ca