As of today, police are now armed with new legislation to clamp down on drivers who use their mobile phone behind the wheel.
A change in the law means the punishment for using a phone behind the wheel has been doubled, with offenders receiving an on-the-spot £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence.
If a motorist is caught twice, accruing 12 points in the process, they will automatically appear in court and face a fine of £1,000 and a driving ban of at least six months.
Road safety is a top priority for Northumbria Police and Motor Patrols Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie, of the Operations Department, hopes the change in legislation will act as a further deterrent to drivers.
He said: “This change in legislation underlines how seriously the authorities are taking driving while using your mobile phone and we are firmly supportive of the change.
“We have all seen examples in the press of the devastation that can be caused when a driver is not concentrating on the road.
“A motor vehicle in the wrong hands won’t just kill one person, it could kill half a dozen in a split-second. That is why it is so important for people to heed our advice.
“We have one simple message for motorists – don’t be that person who is responsible for claiming an innocent life for the sake of a text message.”