Nova Scotia

Police target distracted drivers in 2012

Police in the Halifax area say this month they'll be looking for drivers who are talking or texting with their mobile devices.
Police say they hand out 3,000 tickets a year to drivers using cellphones. (Canadian Press)

Police in the Halifax area say this month they'll be looking for drivers who are talking or texting with their mobile devices.

They say distracted drivers aren't getting the message that they can't use their phones while operating a vehicle.

Each year, police in the HRM hand out more than 3,000 tickets to drivers who are texting or chatting, and this month officers are focused on finding more distracted drivers.

Const. Stephen Squires says it's a dangerous practice.

"If your hands are elsewhere or your eyes are elsewhere, then your reaction time is decreased. So your time to get over onto the brake or reaction to somtheing that may occur, that time increase is therefore the likelihood of a collision increases as well."

This month, police are focusing on drivers with phones.

Squires says some are so distracted, they don't realize they're being watched by police.

"That's something we see a lot too, is that they are so distracted in their phone conversation that it takes them a while to pull over or even just realize that the police are behind them and getting them to stop because they are so engrossed in their conversation."

But he adds the practice can have grave consequences.

"Distracted driving is one of our four main causes of serious and fatal collisions here in the province of Nova Scotia. The other three being impaired driving, lack of seatbelt use as well as aggressive driving."

Nova Scotia banned the use of cellphones while driving on April 1, 2008. The fine for a first offence is $164.50 and it goes up for subsequent charges.

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