Despite the obvious dangers and potential for prosecution, we are STILL seeing drivers flouting the law and using their phones at the wheel, which is why we’re cracking down on it as part of a week of national week of action next week.

The campaign will be carried out by officers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) to educate drivers and enforce the law where appropriate.

The use of mobile phones whilst driving has been recognised for some time as a contributory factor in collisions and one of the Fatal 4.

However, the growth in the use of smart phones is being highlighted as a possible reason for the increased use of the phone in the car.

Drivers are now not only tempted to make and answer calls but also to answer and send emails as well as respond to social network site alerts.

This has increased the likelihood of drivers being distracted and therefore the risk of being involved in a serious collision is increasing.

It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving – you must have hands-free access, like a windscreen mount or built-in sat nav – and it cannot block your view of the road.

You must also be in full control of your vehicle at all times. You can be stopped by police and prosecuted if they think you’re not in control and are distracted.

The law applies even when you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

If caught using a hand-held phone, you could kill someone. That is why drivers face six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Chief Inspector, Graham Milne, from CDSOU, said: “We cannot stress enough how serious an offence this is.

“It only takes seconds of being distracted at the wheel to cause a serious collision which can cause catastrophic effects.

“Last year across Cleveland and Durham we saw 36 fatal collisions, many of them with contributing factors such as drivers using their mobile phones.

“Be in no doubt, you can kill someone. Our message is simple – put the phone away while driving!”#StandingUpFor HangingUp