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OPP lays 844 charges in distracted driving campaign

A driver texting on their phone while in the car. 680 NEWS/Carl Hanstke

The Ontario Provincial Police launched its distracted driving campaign this week and already officers have laid 844 charges.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says despite the warnings, people continue to use their cell phones while driving.

“I was just talking to an officer here a few minutes ago. He had 34 tickets [Wednesday] alone,” Schmidt told 680 NEWS. “They’re everywhere.”

Police have posted powerful ads on social media in the hopes of getting their message across to drivers. Here’s one from Michigan State Police as part of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign called “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.”

The OPP says 2016 marked the fourth consecutive year that inattentive drivers were behind the highest number of lives lost on OPP-patrolled roads.

A total of 218 people died in OPP-investigated collisions known as the “Big Four,” with 65 people killed as a result of inattentive driving. Fifty-five were speed-related, 53 seatbelt-related and 45 alcohol-related.

The March Break distracted riving campaign continues until Sunday.