Within 10 minutes of driving in an unmarked van, West Shore RCMP Const. Alex Bérubé caught a driver at a red light checking his phone.

“When I pull up to an intersection like this, I just creep up,”  Bérubé told CHEK News during a roaming enforcement Thursday.

Just like that, the driver will leave with a hefty fine of $368 and four penalty points ($175). That text or quick peak costing $500.

On the grounds, hidden behind a tree, a police spotter is also on the lookout. He was notifying a crew a block over, ready to pull over drivers.

“As you’ve seen, we’ve intercepted many, many drivers that were caught using their electronic devices while driving and that includes while being stopped at a red light,” said Bérubé.

The blitz is part of the provincial campaign that includes radio and TV ads.

“When you’re distracted driving, you’re five times more likely to crash when you’re using handheld devices. So [we’re] trying to remind drivers to take a break from their phones when they’re driving,” said ICBC Road Safety co-ordinator Colleen Woodger.

Every year across B.C., an average of 78 people die from distracted driving-related crashes, while an average of 66 deaths are related to impaired driving.

Every year on Vancouver Island alone, Woodger says an average of eight people are killed in crashes where a driver was distracted.

While the campaign ends at the end of the month, police say stopping distracted drivers will remain a priority.

Isabelle Raghem