Over 1,800 cell phone tickets issued by Regina Police traffic unit in 2019

It was a busy year for the Regina Police Service’s Traffic Unit in 2019.

In 12 months, the unit consisting of twelve officers handed out 13,530 tickets. From that number, a total of 1,843 cell phone tickets were issued to drivers.

That’s up 320 tickets from 2018 after RPS and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) made distracted driving more of a focus in an attempt to bring those numbers down.

These are some of the statistics from last year’s activity Constable Mike “Hawkeye” Seel dug up and sent out in a tweet on Friday.

Before the end of the year, SGI announced harsher penalties to drivers who are caught driving distracted kicking in on February 1.

Seel admitted it has been harder to catch people using their cell phones while behind the wheel since the announcement.

“I think those numbers will go down with the increased dollar amount in fines and penalties,” said Seel. “Like people who choose to drink and drive, there’s still going to people who decide it’s more important to be on their phone than their safety or other people’s safety.”

Seel added that he ramped up his focus after hearing the story of Sandra LaRose’s daughter Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk who was killed at 17 years old when a train hit her vehicle in the summer of 2018. Police say she was likely distracted in the driver seat before she passed away.

“It has been a lot harder to catch people on their cell phones, I’ve seen more [cell phone] holders out there. It’s a good sign and it makes me happy that people are being more responsible.”

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