An illustration of distracted driving is seen here in this Postmedia file photo. (Postmedia Network)

Using your phone, tablet, GPS unit or iPod while driving can cost you.

City police have issued a reminder about distracted driving as officers crack down on the habit during February. It’s part of the service’s Targeted Traffic Enforcement program, which sees police focusing on addressing a dangerous practice each month.

It’s against Ontario law to use a hand-held communication or entertainment device while driving. Even just holding a device is against the law. The vehicle doesn’t have to be moving; tickets can be issued for distracted driving while stopped at a red light or stop sign.

Distracted driving comes with a fine of $490.

A novice driver convicted of distracted driving will also receive a $30-day licence suspension in addition to the fine.

The use of a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth speaker/microphone, or a mounted device on speaker is allowed.

“We would ask that you put your cellphone away,” states city police traffic Const. Tom White. “If you can’t put your cell phone away leave a message on your cellphone that indicates to the person that you are currently driving and that you don’t want to use it while you are in motion.”

Stop and park in a safe place if you have to make or receive a call, White stated in a police press release.

“If you need to talk on your cell phone the easiest thing to do is to pull over where you don’t affect traffic, put your vehicle into park, and continue on with your cell phone. You can have your conversation at that point and everything is okay.”

Police say it might be best to put phones in the glove compartment, the trunk or in a stowed bag to avoid the temptation to use it.

Another option before heading out is to put the cell phone in the glove compartment, trunk, or inside a bag.

For more information on distracted driving, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/distracted-driving.

Police will also be looking for vehicles that have not been properly cleared of snow in February.

Driving with a view impeded by snow could lead to a $110 fine.

Police cracked down on the improper use of accessible parking permits in January, with 39 charges laid and more than 10 illegal permits being seized.

The initiative was aimed at making sure parking spaces for people with disabilities are available for them, police said.

Police remind people who have the permits that only they are authorized to use them, they must be present when they’re use, and to renew them when they expire.

Illegal use of the permits can mean a fine of $5,000, and the seizure of the permit.

Source: The Peterborough Examiner