FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With March being distracted driving month in British Columbia, RCMP and ICBC have joined forces to launch a month-long campaign urging drivers to leave their phone alone while driving.

Police will be ramping up enforcement of distracted driving laws throughout the province and will also have community volunteers conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road when they’re behind the wheel.

It is currently unknown what plans detachments in Northeast B.C. have for the month.

According to ICBC, distracted driving accounts for more than one-quarter of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the province. Each year in B.C. an average of 76 people are killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.

Recent studies have also found that as many as 40 per cent of B.C. drivers admit to using their cell phones while driving, despite 93 per cent of those surveyed believing it’s highly risky to text while driving and 84 per cent believing it’s highly risky to talk while holding a cell phone and driving.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since police first began enforcing distracted driving laws in B.C., and still four out of every 10 drivers aren’t getting the message, says Corporal Ian Henderson of the Richmond RCMP.

Distracted driving crashes kill and they are completely avoidable. When you drive, leave your phone alone, says Henderson.

The use of hand-held personal electronic devices while driving has been banned in B.C. since 2010

Drivers who are caught using electronic devices while driving are subject to a fine of $368.