Distracted Driving is now the second leading cause of car crashes in BC.

March is Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint Month across the province.

Corporal Madonna Saunderson with the North District RCMP says motorists are still not getting the message.

“The first seven days, Provincial Regional Traffic Services and the RCMP’s Integrated Road Safety unit discovered 36 people operating a vehicle while using a cell phone and 321 seat belt violations.”

Saunderson adds the issue has leapfrogged another long-standing problem in BC.

“Distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving as a factor in vehicle fatality and injury crashes in the province. It’s a big problem when people are driving, they have to beg cognizant of what’s going on around them.”

Stiffer penalties await drivers if they continue to use their mobile device throughout the north.

Saunderson says if you choose not to comply, you may not like the end result. “It can carry a fine of $368 and four demerit point, this fine is coupled with the ICBC driver penalty point premium of a $175 and pushes the fine to $543.”