Drivers should not need any extra incentive to put down their smartphone.

But fines and penalties for getting caught using a mobile phone at the wheel are about to double.

New legislation comes into force in March.

Anyone caught using a handheld device while driving could then be hit with a £200 fine and six points on their licence. Right now the penalties are £100 and three points.

Cheshire’s Roads Policing Team Inspector Steve Griffiths said an increasing number of serious and fatal crashes involved mobile phones.

He said: “Motorists are four times more likely to crash if using a mobile phone while driving.

"Using a handheld mobile device can make drivers less aware of what is happening on the road - they could fail to see road signs, react more slowly and take longer to brake.

“It is vital we educate motorists on the dangers of driving while using a handheld mobile device and the impact this new legislation will have on those who continue to flout the law.”

Offending drivers will no longer be allowed to complete the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) training course as an alternative to receiving points on their license under the new rules.

Those within the first two years after passing their test could also have their licences immediately revoked.

Cheshire Police are taking part in a national operation this week to educate motorists ahead of the legislation coming into effect.

This includes increasing patrols, working with partnership local authorities and issuing messages through the @CheshirePolice and @CheshPolTaskforce social media accounts.

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