The RCMP in Stephenville were handing out tickets to distracted drivers on Friday to deter people from texting, talking on the phone, and eating while behind the wheel.

Const. Matthew Christie said Stephenville Traffic Services West had a stealthy operation going to let people know police won't be putting up with distracted drivers.

Three patrol cars waited, while an unmarked police vehicle watched drivers to notify officers who to pull over.

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RCMP Const. Matthew Christie says drivers are better off leaving their phones alone to avoid points on their license. (CBC)

"People often get upset when they get a ticket for it, but the reality of it is, it's something that we have zero tolerance for," Christie said.

"Some people will right away admit to what it was they were doing. Other people choose not to do so, and will deny the fact that they may have been texting or that they may have been on the phone," Christie said.

According to Christie, driving while on the phone is one of the biggest traffic hazards on the roads.

"Texting while driving actually can be worse than driving while impaired with respect to its effect on your ability to drive," he said.

"There have been studies done on texting while driving, or driving while distracted, and you're 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision than someone who is paying attention to the roadway."

The ticket handed out for being on the phone while operating a vehicle won't just be a slap on the wrist.

"People can expect that if they are stopped for doing that, it's going to run them a $115 fine and four demerit points on their driver’s license," Christie said.

"So if you get a cell phone ticket, you're one-third on your way to losing your driver’s license."