Kendall Wiebe was the victim of a deadly crash

New legislation to be introduced soon

The province announced plans Tuesday to immediately pull dangerous motorists off Manitoba roads following severe driving incidents.

If and how this new legislation could have altered the deadly events of April 7, 2012, in West Winnipeg will never be known. On that day, Adebola Shoyoye smashed his SUV into the Ultracuts hair salon at the Crestview Shopping Centre on Portage Avenue, killing Kendall Wiebe, 27, and seriously injuring another woman.

Crash reconstruction investigators showed Shoyoye's SUV was travelling at 100 km/h when it blasted through the front entrance of the salon, pinning Wiebe against the back wall.

The fatal crash wasn't the first time Shoyoye was involved in an accident while behind the wheel, though it was the most serious. He carried a long list of driving infractions prior to that incident, causing more than $24,000 in damages in the eight crashes in which he's been deemed 100 per cent at fault.

This horrific story was the backdrop to Tuesday's announcement by the province.

"We want to make sure, at the earliest stage possible, that we get dangerous drivers off the roads," Justice Minister James Allum told reporters.

That's what the province hopes to accomplish through a proposed alteration to the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act. With the change, law enforcement officials can contact Manitoba Public Insurance immediately after laying charges for a serious driving offence. MPI can then quickly move to take the driver off the road via a suspension, start an automatic review of his or her driving history and subject the driver to immediate driver-improvement intervention.

Under the current system, a review of a driver's abstract or possible suspension of a licence must wait until a court conviction is made or a settlement is reached.

It's not known if this proposed change in legislation, which will be introduced during the next session, would have kept Shoyoye off the road that April day. His list of 13 accidents and Highway Traffic Act violations, most costly, clumsy and careless in nature, made him a moving hazard over a seven-year period prior to the Ultracuts crash.

But this example of an irresponsible and dangerous driving history is what Ward Keith, acting vice-president of business development and communications at MPI, wants to red flag immediately. It's all about making roads safer, he said.

"The whole purpose of the driver-improvement program is to identify high-risk drivers early and to take action to try and influence that driving behaviour," Keith said. "These changes will allow for earlier intervention."

Keith said all drivers would be able to appeal the immediate suspension under current appeal-board systems and driver improvement programs.

Last year, approximately 4,000 Manitobans had their licences suspended, with another 5,000 asked to take a drivers' improvement course to keep their licences.

According to Insp. Joanne Keeping, officer in charge of traffic services for the RCMP in Manitoba, those driving actions categorized under "serious infractions" include impaired driving, high-speed, criminal negligence, construction-zone violations and erratic or careless driving.

What constitutes a serious driving infraction -- or specifically how law enforcement agencies can limit those offences -- is always under evaluation, she said.

"There's a whole number of possible ones that could fall into that category," Keeping added. "There's going to be more discussion around which particular offences fit into the category that's being suggested."

Shoyoye pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press


Last updated on: 2015-05-08 | Link to this post