THAMES VALLEY POLICE are launching an action week on mobile phone use at the wheel this Monday. 

The force's Roads Policing Unit will be one of the first in the country to utilise new technology to combat the issue.

Working with technology Company Westcotec, the Joint Operations Unit - working with Hampshire Constabulary - will be using a new piece of technology which can detect when drivers are using their phones without using a hands free device.

The technology can detect how many cars on a particular stretch of road are using their phones without hands free.

The 'week of enforcement and education activity' begins on Monday and runs through to Sunday, April 21, as part of the National Police Chief’s Council campaign.

The detector will be located on the A34 somewhere in Oxfordshire but will be posted at different locations throughout the Thames Valley 'in order to assist officers in enforcing the law around using mobile phones whilst driving'.

PC Liz Johnson, a Roads Safety Officer for the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, said: “Research shows us that you are four times more likely to crash if you are using a mobile phone whilst driving, reaction times are around 50% slower than a driver not using a mobile phone.

“It is also apparent that you are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision when texting compared with drink driving.

“In the Thames Valley since 2014 there have been 83 people killed or seriously injured as a result of drivers using their mobile phones.

Officers will also be stopping motorists caught using their mobile phone at locations throughout the Thames Valley.

Those caught using a mobile phone whilst driving can get an automatic fixed penalty notice. As of March 2017, drivers will get six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Drivers could also go to court and be disqualified from driving, with a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.