POLICE are highlighting the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving after revealing that more than 15 motorists are caught committing the crime every day.
Hampshire police caught 5,802 people using a handheld phone behind the wheel in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight last year.
Of those 21 per cent – 1,218 people – paid a £60 fixed penalty and received three penalty points.
In total, 522 people chose to go to court.
But a third – 3,829 people – opted to take a driver awareness course.
Now motorists are being reminded that driving while using a mobile phone is illegal.
Anyone caught committing the offence could face a fine, a rise in car insurance costs and could even lose their licence.
Inspector Jon Snook said: ‘Using a mobile phone while driving, even only for a second, is not only illegal, but puts you and others at an unacceptable risk.
‘We’re on patrol to deter drivers from taking those risks and catch anyone who chooses to flout the law.
‘Although it’s not illegal to use hands-free phones, you’ll face the same penalties as using a phone if we think you’re not in proper control of your vehicle.
‘Education’s just as important as enforcement in preventing offences and saving lives.
‘That’s why if you’re caught using a mobile at the wheel, you’ll get the option of attending one of our driver awareness courses.’
Research shows drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a mobile phone while driving, according to police.
Reaction times can also be reduced by about 50 per cent.