Drivers have been warned that Sussex Police will start a crackdown on mobile phone use at the wheel from today (Monday 22 January).
Those caught in the week-long crackdown risk a £200 fine and six penalty points on their driving licence.
The force said: “It could also cost lives.”
The risk to drivers and others is illustrated in a video posted on YouTube to support the wider campaign against using phones and similar devices while driving.
Sussex Police said: “From Monday (22 January) to Sunday (28 January) a dedicated team of officers will be on patrol to catch those who use their handheld devices to text, call or surf the web while driving.
“If caught, offenders will receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
“New drivers who have passed their test in the last two years will have their licences revoked.
“They are able to get their licence back if they pay for a new provisional licence and successfully take their theory and practical tests again.
“The offence remains one of the main causes of serious injury and fatal collisions – and all motorists are being urged to take note.”
Superintendent Chris Moon, head of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “It’s concerning that despite our repeated messaging around road safety, there are still a number of motorists who continue to use their phone while driving.
“It goes without saying that anyone driving a vehicle should give their full attention to the road, not just for their own safety but for others too.
“By using a handheld device at the wheel, you are taking your attention away from the road, which can severely affect your judgment, your reaction times and your awareness of what’s around you.
“A serious or even fatal collision at 60mph to 70mph could be caused by a minor lapse in concentration.
“Throw a mobile phone into the mix and you reduce your level of concentration even further.”
Sussex Police said: “The week of action will be in addition to officers’ routine roads policing duties which are carried out all year round.
“Offenders who refuse to pay the fine issued for using a mobile device while driving could be prosecuted, disqualified from driving and fined up to £1,000.
“If officers can prove you are driving dangerously while using your phone, you could be disqualified and jailed for up to two years.”
Superintendent Moon added: “The new legislation which came into effect last year means you only need to be caught on your phone twice to receive 12 points on your licence which can result in a driving ban.
“In simple terms, no text or call is worth paying £200 for. Nor is it worth potentially losing your life.
“Our advice is to put your phone away where it won’t distract you. And if you really do need to use your phone for anything, make sure you pull over where it is safe to do so.
“Don’t risk your life by using it while driving.”
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