Texting and driving is illegal in North Carolina, but it happens all the time.

It's been illegal since 2009, but it turns out very few people are actually getting caught.

To find out how often drivers are getting tickets Spectrum News filed a Freedom of Information Request for police departments in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro.

We found not only are the tickets rare, there's also a wide gap between the departments.

In Raleigh the numbers are markedly low.

In 2013 the police department only gave out one ticket for texting and driving, in 2015 the number rose to 18 but through July of this year it's only been four.

Spectrum News reached out to RPD for comment but it denied our request for an interview.

In Greensboro, the numbers of tickets is dropping, from 109 in 2013, to 29 in 2015 to just nine during the first part of this year.

"It's hard for us to prove that someone is texting and driving," said Greensboro Police Department Officer A.D. Reed.

In Charlotte, officers are ticketing more people but they admit the numbers remain low. During the 2012 fiscal year CMPD gave out 134 citations. Last year officers gave out 205.

"We are understaffed, officers are going call to call through the city. Not saying we're not doing traffic enforcement but we don't have as many officers doing it as we would like," said CMPD Sgt. David Sloan.

Pt. 2 of this story will air Sunday morning on Spectrum News.