Police officers will be on patrol in Sussex this week to crack down on drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel.

A dedicated team from Surrey and Sussex Police will be looking for motorists using their phones to call or text while driving.

Those caught could be fined up to £200 and may receive up to six points on their driving licence.

New drivers who have passed their test in the last two years will be banned from the roads immediately.

The crackdown runs from Monday (July, 10) to Sunday (July, 16).

Sergeant Phil Badman, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said:

“Despite our repeated messaging around road safety, there are still a minority of motorists who continue to use their phone while driving.

“We’ve all seen it, however that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

“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 judgement, your reaction times and your awareness of what’s around you.”

The penalties given to drivers for using phones behind the wheel were doubled earlier this year.

It now means drivers would get an immediate driving ban for receiving 12 points on their licence, were they to be caught twice.

Last year, police claimed drivers using their mobile phones while driving were a factor behind 22 collisions in Sussex.

Sergeant Phil Badman added:

“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.”

Those 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 someone is driving dangerously while using their phone, they could be disqualified and jailed for up to two years.

The initiative is supported by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.

Those who witness someone using their phone while driving can report it to Sussex Police on the Operation Crackdown website.