British Columbia's ban on the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices came into effect on January 1, 2010.

The province says that the use of such devices is the leading cause of distracted-driving accidents that kill 117 a year and send another 1,400 to hospital.

Similar to Distracted driving legislation now in effect in seven provinces, the new law will make it illegal for drivers to text, type, dial or email using hand-held devices while operating a vehicle.

All drivers, except those in the Graduated Licensing Program, will still allowed to use hands-free technology that is activated by a single touch of a button.

Police in B.C. will give drivers a one-month grace period to adapt to the change. In January, police will hand out educational brochures to drivers, however, in February, officers will start writing tickets.

Convicted drivers will receive a $167 fine. Convicted drivers with a novice or learner's licence will receive a $167 fine and a three point penalty.