POLICE in Hampshire and Thames Valley are clamping down on the use of mobile phones while driving with the rollout of first-of-its-kind technology today (Friday).

Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police’s Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit are the first unit in the country to adopt new technology which detects when drivers are using their phones without a handsfree device.

The launch comes ahead of a week of enforcement and education activity which begins on Monday, April 15, through to Sunday, April 21.

The new technology, developed by Westcotec, can detect how many cars on a stretch of road are using their phones without handsfree.

It will help officers in the Thames Valley and Hampshire to target particular hotspots for enforcement.

Chris Spinks, managing director of Westcotec, said: “Our system is designed to provide intelligence to police officers so that they can carry out enforcement activity in order to reduce the amount of people who are using mobile phones illegally on our roads.

“Our technology provides a visual sign to motorists who are using a mobile phone whilst driving without Bluetooth.”

When someone using their phone is detected, the device will flash a mobile phone symbol at the car advising them to stop using their mobile phone.

Officers will also be stopping motorists caught using their mobile phone at locations throughout Hampshire and the Thames Valley.

This will include making use of a bus, provided by Stagecoach, to spot motorists who are breaking the law and using their mobile phone.

Those caught doing so can get six points on their license and a £200 fine.

Some cases could also go to court, leading to disqualification from driving and a maximum fine of £1,000.

PC Liz Johnson, a Roads Safety Officer for the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, said: “It is vital that people take notice and stop using their mobile phones whilst driving.

“Research shows us that you are four times more likely to crash if you are using a mobile phone whilst driving. Reaction times are around 50% slower than a driver not using a mobile phone.

“It is also apparent that you are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision when texting compared with drink driving.

“In the Thames Valley since 2014 there have been 83 people killed or seriously injured as a result of drivers using their mobile phones and 40 have been killed or seriously injured Hampshire.”