“STOP the loss of innocent lives on our roads.”

That is the plea this week from police officers across Hampshire and Thames Valley as they launch a crackdown on motorists using mobile phones while driving.

Officers are speaking out as they are the ones who deal with the devastating aftermath of collisions where a driver has been distracted by their mobile first hand and they are hoping this week of action will help to reduce unnecessary deaths on our roads.

Roads policing officers will be carrying out dedicated operations, stopping drivers caught using their phones, issuing penalties and educating motorists about the dangers of distraction as part of the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) national campaign.

Road safety sergeant Rob Heard said: “One driver caught using their phone is one too many and sadly we are still seeing too many people taking that risk, whether looking at a text, making and receiving calls or even surfing the internet.

“Doing any of these will clearly impair and distract your ability to drive a vehicle safely.

“Research has shown that talking on a mobile phone can impair your ability to drive more than if you were driving whilst over the drink drive limit.

“I am urging all motorists to not take that risk, as a moments inattention can be the difference between life and death.

“We have all seen the devastation caused by those who take the risks.

“Please think twice before answering a call, looking at a text or browsing your phone.

“Innocent lives should not be lost because a driver uses their mobile phone behind the wheel.”

During the last operation in March, a total of 186 drivers were stopped in Hampshire during the week-long initiative, while a further nine were reported for not being in proper control of their vehicle.

Drivers caught will be issued with a fixed penalty notice, which now sees motorists fined £200 and given six penalty points on their licence.

A case could go to court and the driver could be disqualified from driving or riding and receive a maximum fine of £1,000.

Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could receive a maximum fine of £2,500.