Mounties taking 'zero-tolerance approach' to distracted driving

Mounties in southwestern New Brunswick are cracking down on distracted driving this month.

Police say they'll be conducting several distracted driving operations in the St. Stephen and McAdam areas in April.

RCMP Sgt. Peter Stubbs said they're taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who continue to text and drive, or dial phone numbers while driving.

"Drivers continue to ignore the law by texting, holding onto the phone while talking, or operating a GPS or other electronic device while driving," he said. "Reaction time is delayed when a driver takes their eyes off the road for even just a few seconds to text or program a GPS and this increases the likelihood of being involved in a serious or fatal crash."

A recent enforcement operation in St. Stephen saw four drivers ticketed in just over an hour for operating a handheld device.

A ticket carries a fine of $172.50 and each driver lost three points from their driver's license.

"What's happening is more and more drivers are attempting to avoid detection," said Stubbs, "but really, it's obvious what they're doing because their eyes are looking down and not out at the road."

The New Brunswick Motor Vehicle Act says drivers cannot operate or hold an electronic device – that includes while stopped at an intersection or traffic light.