Would you put yourself at risk by getting behind the wheel drunk? No? Then why would anyone consider using your mobile phone whilst driving is ok?

The distraction caused by even looking at your phone whilst driving can cause similar risks to driving drunk and that’s including the hands free!

It has been recognised for some time as a contributory factor in collisions and one of the Fatal 4 which can have devastating consequences.

Drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision as you are less likely to notice and react to hazards if distracted.

Smart phones can increase the temptation to make and answer calls but also to select music or respond to social media alerts.

Don’t make that ‘quick’ glance the last thing you ever do!

From February 8, Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) will be taking part in a two-week national campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers and help people make a change that could save a life.

Did you know:
It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving even when you’re stopped at lights or stuck in traffic.

You must be in full control of your vehicle at all times. You can be stopped by officers and prosecuted if they think you’re not in control and are distracted and face six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Be aware, there are other means of being caught and dealt with. More people than ever have dashcams fitted in their vehicles and are using the online reporting option to let police know about offences committed!

You can avoid these risks by simply putting your phone out of sight such as in the glove box or turning on an app which will block any calls or notifications for your journey. It will even send the person trying to get in touch a handy message to let them know you’re on the road and will reply when it’s safe.

Inspector Ian Leach, from CDSOU, said: “We cannot stress enough how serious an offence this is.

“It only takes seconds of being distracted at the wheel to have a serious collision which can have catastrophic consequences.

“Be in no doubt, you can kill someone. Our message is simple – put the phone away while driving!”