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Getting caught using your cellphone while driving is going to cost you a lot more come November.

As of November 1st, using a handheld electronic device while driving will result in a three-day roadside licence suspension, a $672 fine, and five demerits. Subsequent offenses will mean seven-day suspensions (and perhaps more penalties). The changes were first introduced to the Legislature in March.

Infrastructure minister Ron Schuler calls it an important measure in protecting Manitobans.

"We want to make sure that safety is our number one factor when we talk about driving on our roads and our highways," he said this morning at the Manitoba Legislature.

Schuler says the new law applies to more than just cellphone-use while driving.

"Distracted driving is: eating a pizza, drinking a coke, and -- doing something else -- I mean, it could be an unsecured pet on your lap, it can be a whole bunch of things. Distracted driving is any of those things which distract you from what you should be doing, (which) is driving."

The decision to increase distracted driving penalties came from statistics, said Schuler. He told reporters this morning there were 4,780 collisions related to distracted driving in 2012; in 2017, there were 15,403.