Yukon drivers will have to stay off their cellphones while behind the wheel, or face a $250 fine, when a new cellphone ban starts next month.

Territorial government officials say there will be no grace period when the ban takes effect across Yukon on April 1.


Yukon joins a growing number of Canadian jurisdictions that are banning the use of cellphones and other handheld devices while driving. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press))

As part of the ban, which was passed by MLAs in October, drivers cannot talk or text with their handheld cellphones or other messaging devices while they are operating a motor vehicle.

Those who are caught chatting and driving will be fined $250 and three demerit points on their licences, said Vern Janz, director of the Yukon government's transport services branch.

"We've heard from the RCMP that in order for a law to be effective, a fine level must be established that truly serves as a deterrent, and I think that this fine level does accomplish that," Janz told CBC News on Monday.

Rookie drivers in the Yukon's graduated driver's licence program will also have to restart the program from the beginning if they are convicted of using their phones while driving.

Janz said the cellphone ban will help reduce the number of vehicle crashes and fatalities related to distracted driving.

RCMP officers will start issuing tickets on April 1, the first day that the ban takes effect, Janz said.