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Distracted driving crackdown kicks off in Calgary

Calgary police are cracking down on distracted driving starting today.

Police say public still not getting the message about dangers of distracted driving

Calgary police were out in full force Monday looking for distacted drivers on city streets. 3:34

Calgary police are cracking down on distracted driving starting today.

The province brought in new laws two years ago that banned drivers from being on their cellphones and other distracting behaviours. 

However, police say the public is still not getting the message.

​"We have heard a lot of comments from the general public, from our own officers, that continue to see motorists engaged in other activities other than driving their motor vehicle," said Staff Sgt. Michael Watterston with the Calgary Police Service.

"Grooming, programming their GPS, fiddling around with the electronic equipment and, of course, the cellphones."

Over the past year, officers say they have written an average of 500 tickets per month.

Police say they will use a number of strategies like plainclothes officers in unmarked vehicle and traffic stops to catch distracted drivers.

"People just aren't getting the message so it's time to ramp it up," Watterston said. 

"When that vehicle is in motion and you are engaged in those distracted driving activities, we are going to engage you."

Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver said in October the legislation also needs improvement.

He said the province is considering hiking penalties and doing more to educate drivers, but will not go as far as to seize vehicles.

The distracted driving law carries a fine of $172.

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