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OPP March Break blitz to focus on distracted driving

(The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg)

Ontario Provincial Police will be hitting the roads for a campaign over the March Break, with the focus on distracted driving.

If you haven’t put away the phone already, now is your chance because they’ll be targeting distracted and inattentive drivers.

Distracted driving was the leading cause of driving related deaths for the fourth year in a row last year, responsible or partially responsible for 65 deaths in 2016.

OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt says it’s still a growing problem that has climbed to the top of the Big Four.

“We call the Big Four those leading causes of deaths and injury on provincial highways, and it’s pretty consistent all across the country as well,” says Schmidt. “Right on top is distracted or inattentive driving, then we also have aggressive driving, impaired driving, and those people who still do not wear seatbelts.”

Schmidt says they hope to stop drivers from having their phones in hand, and also encourage passengers to speak up for their own safety.

“We’re out there trying to change driver’s behaviour because there really is no tolerance for distracted driving. It’s not that important. Those text messages and phone calls can all wait, because when you’re behind the wheel, you need to have 100% of your attention on driving.”

Distracted and inattentive driving can result in a minimum $490 fine complete with demerit points.