Police to crack down on mobile phones behind the wheel

Drivers who kill to face longer prison sentences

Police in England and Wales will be stepping up their efforts to catch drivers who use their mobile phone behind the wheel as part of a week-long crack down.

The new measures will include extra patrols using unmarked vans, helmet cams, high-seated vehicles and vantage points to catch offenders. The campaign will also use 'innovative approaches' to educate and inform drivers of the consequences of driving while distracted.

It follows proposals by Westminster to double fines and points for using a mobile phone while driving.

Earlier this year, an independent survey by the national law firm Stephensons, revealed that using a mobile phone while driving was one of the most commonly committed 'everyday crimes', with ten per cent of the population admitting to the offence. Startlingly, less than a third of those polled said that they regretted breaking the law.

PC Derek Kitcher of Gwent Police told BBC Radio 5 Live that checking social media and texting is now 'much more common than taking calls at the wheel.'

He said that most offenders do not realise a police car is alongside them until the officer beeps their horn.

In 2014, a study by the AA found that 38 per cent of their 18,000 members had been distracted at the wheel, with 7,000 of those admitting that they lost concentration, 548 reporting a near miss and 106 crashing.

The Department for Transport has said that mobile phones are responsible for nearly 20 per cent of road fatalities where distraction was identified as the cause.