DRIVERS using mobile phones at the wheel are being targeted by police in York and North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Police say that over the next two weeks - February 26 – March 10, as part of Operation Contact officers will target distracted driving which is seen as one of the “fatal 5” as it is a significant contributory factor to many serious and fatal road traffic collisions on the county’s road network.

The force say that drivers who use their hand-held device at the wheel are four times more likely to be in a crash.

And that, not only is it extremely dangerous, it’s also illegal and carries a minimum fine of £200 and six points.

The police have the power to stop drivers if they believe that they are distracted and not in control of a vehicle. It is still illegal to use a handheld device when, stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic, supervising a learner driver, driving a vehicle that turns off the engine when you stop moving or holding and using a device that's offline or in-flight mode when driving a vehicle.

Patrols will be carried out in marked and unmarked vehicles. A specialist unmarked HGV will be driven on the county’s roads by officers to help capture unsafe driving.

Inspector Clive Turner from North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group said: “I’m sure that a majority of people will agree that driving when distracted is dangerous and completely unacceptable behaviour.

“ Last year, we issued 697 Traffic Offence Reports for people using a hand-held device when driving on North Yorkshire’s roads. I personally find it disappointing that this number of people will risk not only their own but other people’s safety.

“ I would like to remind people that they can submit their own footage of people committing driving offences on the road network as part of Operation Snap, further details can be found on the North Yorkshire Police website.”