A MONTH-LONG crackdown has been launched after more than 5,000 people were caught using phones while driving in Lancashire last year.

Officers from Lancashire Police’s road policing unit will be stopping drivers as well as visiting colleges and universities to warn people of the dangers of taking a call or texting while driving.

Last year, 5,052 drivers in Lancashire were caught by police using a mobile phone while driving.

Chief Inspector Debbie Howard said being distracted by a phone while in the car could put your life and that of others at risk.

She said: “The consequences of driving whilst using a mobile phone can be catastrophic. It diverts attention away from the road and increases the chances of being involved in a road traffic collision.

“We take action against those who use mobile phones whilst driving throughout the year but the concentrated activity taking place this month sets out to let motorists know that this behaviour will simply not be tolerated.”

Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, said: “The problem we face is that people are addicted to using their mobile phones and answering them whenever they ring.

“What tends to happen is that they answer it almost immediately.

“What we have found is that when there has been some kind of campaign, the level of people being seen using mobile phones drops because they become aware of it, but once those surges of interest drop off, the percentage of drivers using mobile phones increases.”

Motorists who use a mobile phone while driving could get a £60 fine and three penalty points on their licence or they may be dealt with at court.

The crackdown is part of Operation Pathway, a force-wide campaign that sees high profile action days on the county’s roads aimed at saving lives.