Major operations are beginning to get underway in a week-long campaign to crackdown on motorists who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel.
Research by Direct Line Car Insurance revealed that a third of car accidents (32%) are due to mobile phone use.
Officers will be working undercover and occupy marked police vehicles in order to catch people committing the crime and the operating will continue throughout the coming weeks running up to Christmas.
It was announced last week that the government plans to double fines and points for using a mobile phone while driving.
The number of motorists who illegally use mobile phones at the wheel is rising, according to research by the RAC. They surveyed 1,714 motorists where 31% of them said they used a handheld phone behind the wheel compared to 8% in 2014.
The number of drivers who claimed they sent a message or posted on social media rose from 7% to 19%, while 14% said they had taken a photograph or video while driving.
Department of Transport figures show that a driver impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 492 accidents in Britain in 2014, including 21 that were fatal and 84 classed as serious.
Frazer Davey, Roads Policing Inspector, said: “I am often asked ‘ what is legal?’ or ‘Can I use hands-free safety?’
“The best advice I can offer, is the advice I have given to my 17-year old son, who is learning to drive; driving is difficult enough without adding in other distractions.
“When you’re behind the wheel, forget about who may be texting you, or what your friends may be putting on Facebook.
“Focus all of your concentration and attention on your driving to keep you safe, your friends and family safe and other people on the road safe.”
As part of the latest campaign, police officers are working side-by-side with paramedics in order to educate the public on the risks of using phones while driving.
As well as using marked vans, officers will also be using helmet cams, high-seated vehicles and high vantage points to catch offenders.
Social media will also be used to target repeat offenders via videos and messages in a scheme that allows “community spotters’ to target these offenders.
Last month EMOpSS launched a hard-hitting video displaying the horrific consequences of driving on a mobile phone supported by the quote #itcanwait.
EMOpSS, who provides roads policing and collision investigation to the communities of Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire, offer armed policing response, firearms training and specialist search skills and dog support.
Mark Garthwaite, Chief Inspector within EMOpSS, said: “Officers across the four forces of the East Midlands Operational Support Service are supporting the NPCC campaign because all too often they deal with awful consequences of using a mobile phone while driving.
“This week officers will be carrying out enforcement action during a number of ‘Fatal Four’ clinics across the region to educate motorists about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.
“Just recently we launched a campaign called ‘it can wait’ which tells the powerful story of a woman left with permanent disabilities after being caught up in an accident caused by someone on her phone.
“As she says, nothing is so urgent that you have to do it while driving. Please don’t”.