More than 80 people died in crashes last year because of distracted driving, a new OPP report shows.

According to the report, inattentive drivers were responsible for 83 deaths in 2017 on OPP-patrolled roads. It’s also getting the blame for the majority of the 13,000 crashes they’ve been called to this year.

“A distracted or inattentive driver looks just like an impaired, which looks just like a fatigued driver. We cannot tolerate that kind of behaviour,” says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.

The OPP kicked off its March Break safety blitz on Monday, which is focusing on distracted driving. It didn’t take long for officers to hand out tickets.

“I got a call from the officer this morning that the first ticket of the day was a double tanker fuel truck going down Highway 400,” says Schmidt.

According to Schmidt, the driver had their phone in hand and was fiddling through it.

“He claimed it was a coffee cup, but that was certainly not the case.”

Last year was the fifth consecutive year that distracted driving topped the big four factors behind fatal crashes on OPP-patrolled roads.

Speeding was attributed to 75 deaths, alcohol and drugs were involved in 46, and lack of a seatbelt was responsible for 49 deaths.

Drivers are asked to think twice before picking up their phones while behind the wheel.