Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 12:23 UK

Mobile crackdown targets drivers

A crackdown targeting drivers in Essex who use mobile phones at the wheel is to start on Monday in a bid to tackle a rise in motorists flouting the law.

Essex County Council said 14% more drivers had been given fixed penalty tickets for using their mobile phone while driving compared to last year.

A radio advertisement leads the Essex Casualty Reduction Board campaign.

Essex Police will step up patrols, with more officers checking for mobile phone use than ever before, a spokesman said.

Norman Hume, chairman of Essex Casualty Reduction Board, said: "Over recent months, it has become quite clear an increasing number of motorists are ignoring the dangers and continue to risk their own and others' safety by texting or phoning at the wheel.

"Breaking the law risks death or serious injury. It also means a fine and three points on your licence.

"If you are a new driver you only need to be caught twice to lose your licence.

"Mobile phones and driving do not mix. You should never take the risk. The best advice is to switch off before you drive off."

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