Drivers who use handheld mobile phones have been reminded that the penalties for doing so will be doubled next year.
The Government has said it will increase the punishment from three points on your licence and a £100 fine to six points and a £200 fine.
The issue has become prominent due to recent tragedies such as that caused by Tomasz Kroker, who was jailed for 10 years after killing a family of four in a crash while being distracted by his mobile phone.
Jan Brabin, senior road safety officer at Bury Council, said: “Drivers using hands-free or handheld mobile phones are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards and a split second lapse in concentration could result in a crash, even for drivers who consider themselves careful.”
Newly qualified drivers are reminded that they face an immediate ban if they reach six penalty points in the first two years after passing their test, so just one mobile phone offence could cost them their licence.
The penalty for driving carelessly, dangerously or causing death by dangerous driving when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and imprisonment. Drivers should be aware that they could be prosecuted for using a hands-free device if they were not in proper control of the vehicle at the time.
Jan added: “Drivers should switch their phone off, leave it to go to voicemail or pull over in a safe place to return the call.
“It is important that people realise the potentially devastating consequences of using a mobile phone when driving. We want people to view using a mobile phone while driving as the equivalent to drink or drug driving. People should be deterred by the potential consequences of a collision, but perhaps the points and the fine will also be a good motivator for behaviour change.”
Press release issued: 21 November 2016.