Police Using Tricky Tactic to Catch Cell Phone Use

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 21 :Metropolitan Police Officer J.D. Hansohn, flags down a driver who was talking on his cell phone on September 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. Police were giving warnings and tickets to people who were talking on cell phones while driving past a hotel where the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit was being held. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The ban on using your cell phone while behind the wheel in Manitoba went into effect on July 15, but enforcing it has proven to be a challenge.

Despite police giving motorists warnings before the ban went into place, it’s not hard to spot scofflaws in traffic yakking away on their mobile devices.

On the first few days of the ban, police issued over 200 tickets at nearly $200 a piece. That’s quite a hit to the wallet for talking, or in fact, even holding your phone while driving.

Enforcement isn’t always easy, so Winnipeg police are using a new technique to nab those who disobey the law and put the safety of other drivers around them in jeopardy.

A keen-eyed ChrisD.ca reader recently spotted what he thought to be a panhandler in traffic on a city boulevard. The man was carrying a cardboard sign and standing at the corner of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Dakota Street, but was scheming behind the homeless disguise.

The sudden movement by the so-called panhandler as he approached a driver blew his cover when he asked a motorist to pull around the corner to the opposite side of Bishop Grandin, where a police cruiser was waiting to issue a $200 ticket.

Since July, police officers across the province have been holding ‘ticket blitzes,’ where they setup near a busy street and watch for drivers on the phone. With many motorists now concealing their devices in their lap to text, or using the speakerphone function, it’s no wonder police are getting creative to curb the problem.