Third-Party Liability Coverage to be Denied for Impaired Drivers

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Impaired drivers who are in a collision will be denied third-party liability coverage as of August 1, 2023, the Province of Manitoba and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) announced today.

Impaired drivers will be responsible for covering the cost of any damage they cause to other vehicles or property.

“Our government is committed to holding impaired drivers accountable for damage caused by their actions and to keeping our roads safe for all Manitobans,” Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.

“Far too many people are killed and injured every year in collisions caused by impaired drivers. That’s why the Government of Manitoba is pleased to announce that MPI now has the authority to recover costs for property or vehicle damage directly from these drivers.”

Third-party liability covers damages caused to other vehicles and to personal or public property. Under the new rules, if an impaired driver causes damage to someone else’s vehicle or property, MPI will cover the damages caused and then seek repayment from the impaired driver. This way, individuals whose property is damaged will continue to be compensated fully, as they are today. These changes will apply to drivers of all types of motor vehicles, including off-road vehicles.

The Personal Injury Protection Plan covers all Manitoba residents injured in an automobile accident anywhere in Canada and the United States. However, outside of Manitoba, an impaired driver is subject to the laws of the jurisdiction, meaning they could be responsible for covering the costs of all damage caused, including bodily injuries.

“Manitoba already has among the toughest penalties in Canada for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This announcement creates one more serious deterrent to impaired driving in Manitoba,” said MPI Chairperson Ward Keith. “We are sending a clear message that impaired driving is unacceptable in our province. If you drink or use drugs, simply do not drive.”

Enhancing Manitoba’s strong stance on impaired driving

Impaired driving is a serious threat to public safety with significant sanctions and consequences. In addition to today’s announcement, all-perils coverage for damage to one’s own vehicle is already denied for impaired drivers.

Additional consequences to driving after consuming drugs or alcohol in Manitoba include licence suspensions, vehicle impoundment, participation in Manitoba’s Ignition Interlock Program, potential charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, movement down the Driver Safety Rating scale and a mandatory Impaired Driver Assessment at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba at the driver’s expense.

MADD Canada, whose mission is to stop impaired driving and support victims of this violent crime, applauded the addition of another disincentive in Manitoba, and remains supportive of all initiatives to help prevent people driving under the influence.

“Impaired driving is a choice someone makes, and a choice for which they should be held accountable,” said Jaymie-Lyne Hancock, National President of MADD Canada. “We welcome this announcement from the Government of Manitoba and MPI. It is another strong consequence, in addition to the existing penalties, that individuals who choose to drive impaired will face.”

Statistics show impaired driving is a factor in one in four road fatalities each year in Manitoba and is a contributing factor in approximately 26 deaths each year, on average. So far in 2023, seven people have been killed in collisions involving impaired driving on Manitoba roads.

Top five road safety tips for summer driving

As Manitobans hit the road for summer travel, all drivers are urged to slow down, avoid distractions, and never drive impaired.

“There is no reason to ever drive impaired by drugs or alcohol,” MPI’s Keith said. “If you are out celebrating this summer, choose not to drive impaired. Plan a safe ride home. Have a designated driver, take a cab or rideshare, use public transit or stay the night. Whatever you do, don’t drive impaired.”

All motorists are reminded to follow these tips any time they get behind the wheel:

  1. Never drive when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  2. Don’t text and drive.
  3. Slow down – don’t speed.
  4. Buckle up.
  5. Be cautious in construction zones.

(MPI News Release)