Grande Prairie Enforcement Services officers will be out in force this month to make sure people are focusing on the road while behind the wheel. The department is cracking down on distracted driving as part of the Selected Traffic Enforcement Program.

Sergeant Ross Gear with Enforcement Services says distracted driving isn’t just about using a handheld device, like a phone, behind the wheel anymore.

“We’ve seen people grooming their hair and putting on makeup; I’ve seen a person with a newspaper in front of their face while they’re driving which is just not a good idea.”

The Traffic Safety Act also prohibits items,  including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle if it interferes with the driver’s access to the vehicle’s controls. Gear says the law is still in play when stopped at a red light or at a stop sign.

“The vehicle is still considered to be in operation. The only time you can use a device is when you pull over and actually park properly and stop.”

The penalty for distracted driving is $287 and three demerit points.