There has been a 200 per cent increase in the number of distracted driving charges laid in RCMP-policed areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality this year, compared to the same time last year.

The RCMP say members laid 27 distracted driving charges in HRM from Jan.1 to March 31 in 2018.

This year, that number has increased to 81 charges laid during the same period.

“It’s just a concern that people are still using their cellphones while they’re driving on the road,” says RCMP Cpl. Lisa Croteau.

“It’s distracted driving and people who are using their cellphones are more likely to not be paying attention for their driving and sometimes end up in a collision.”

While police are nabbing more drivers, the numbers may also reveal the effectiveness of investigative techniques officers are using to catch people on their cellphones.

“We’ve been using a lot of officers in plain clothes, as well as unmarked vehicles, so that may be one of the reasons stats have gone up,” says Croteau.

The RCMP say they will continue to target distracted drivers through enforcement.

In Nova Scotia, the fine for using a cellphone while operating a vehicle is $237.50. If convicted, four points are added to the driver's licence.