Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House to provide the closing statement on my bill, an act respecting a federal framework on distracted driving. I want to thank all of my colleagues who stood here today and provided thoughtful and fruitful debate.
The last time I spoke to my bill in the House I shared the stories of Amutha and Senhit, who both had their lives taken away by the driver of another vehicle who was distracted by her cellphone and drove through a red light. Sadly, this story is not unique. The loss of a loved one by a distracted driver is an experience shared by families from coast to coast to coast.
Between the first hour of debate when I shared this story and today, more families in Canada have been added to a growing anthology of grief and sadness. Right now, statistics show that people are more likely to be the victims of a distracted driver than a drunk driver.
In my home province of Manitoba, last year was one of the safest for drivers since 1982, with a 32% decrease in fatalities from 2016. While this is a significant improvement, that statistic still represents 73 fatalities in 65 collisions. While a full analysis of the collisions is still under review, Manitoba Public Insurance has stated that distracted driving continues to be a primary contributing factor in fatal collisions.
It is time to address this issue.
Just as we were able to address drunk driving by changing federal and provincial legislation, by providing law enforcement with the necessary resources and tools, and educating Canadians on the dangers of drinking and driving, it is time to seriously address distracted driving.
My bill calls upon the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Transport to work with their provincial counterparts to develop a framework with six provisions on the collection of information; the administration and enforcement of laws respecting distracted driving; the creation and implementation of public education programs; the role of driver-assistance technology; the sharing of best practices among jurisdictions; and recommendations regarding possible amendments to federal laws, policies, and programs. When combined in a national framework, these can lead to common measures that will help curb distracted driving. This would be an opportunity for the federal government and the provinces, in the spirit of co-operative federalism, to expand the good work they have done together.
If a framework to prevent distracted driving can lead us to solutions to get people to not pick up their cellphones, can provide provinces with the right information, can provide law enforcement with the right tools and practices, can change technology in vehicles, and can save lives, then I have done my duty for my constituents and so has everyone in this chamber.
In my time in the emergency room I have set too many bones, I have patched too many wounds, and I have stopped too many people from bleeding out to not speak out. I have watched too many die. While I am no longer in the emergency room helping to treat victims of collisions and distracted drivers, I am here in the House to work with my colleagues and to the best of my ability to stop people from being victims at all.
Whereas I am aware of the government's reservations about this legislation, I am committed, if the bill passes, to making significant amendments to it in committee in order to address these concerns. I call upon the support of all of my colleagues to help me pass this legislation and save lives.