It seems drivers in Halifax aren't getting the message to put down their hand-held cellphones.

The ban has been in place since April 1, 2008. But so far this year, Halifax police have nabbed 919 motorists for illegal cellphone use while driving.

"Those people who choose to use a cellphone are likely going to keep doing it until they get a ticket," said Const. Brian Palmeter, spokesman for Halifax Regional Police.

It doesn't take long to spot someone flouting the ban.

In a 10-minute period Wednesday, CBC News spotted 10 drivers at the busy Quinpool and Robie intersection texting or talking on their phones.

Most of the drivers were taking advantage of a red light to check their messages.

One man said he wasn't worried about a $165 ticket. Another driver said he was only using his smartphone for the GPS feature.

Reporter Yvonne Colbert also spoke with several drivers without phones.

Tickets issued by Halifax police:

2008 (April-December) - 1,115

2009 - 2,472

2010 - 1,559

One woman said she would never talk and text while driving. "It's very dangerous. You can't drive and text and concentrate at the same time," she said.

Police say the ban is helping to make the roads safer for everyone.

Halifax police said they don't have numbers on how many crashes are caused by drivers using cellphones because usually by the time officers arrive, the phone has been tucked away.

Nova Scotia was the second province to impose rules on cellphones while driving, behind Newfoundland and Labrador. Most provinces have since followed suit.