New drivers caught using their mobile phones at the wheel, within two years of passing their test, will have their licences revoked, say Sussex Police who are launching a crackdown this week.
They say the new drivers will have to pay for a new provisional licence and re-take theory and practical tests before they can have a new licence.
Other offenders will receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
The police say they have launched a crackdown because the offence remains one of the main causes of serious injury and fatal collisions.
A dedicated team will be on patrol from today until Sunday, January 28, looking for drivers using their handheld devices to text, call or surf the web while driving.
Superintendent Chris Moon, head of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “It’s concerning that despite our repeated messaging around road safety, there are still a number of motorists who continue to use their phone while driving.
“It goes without saying that anyone driving a vehicle should give their full attention to the road, not just for their own safety but for others’ too. By using a handheld device at the wheel, you are taking your attention away from the road, which can severely affect your judgement, your reaction times and your awareness of what’s around you.
“A serious or even fatal collision at 60-70mph could be caused by a minor lapse in concentration. Throw a mobile phone into the mix, and you reduce your level of concentration even further.”
The week of action will be in addition to officers’ routine all-year-round roads policing duties.
Offenders who refuse to pay the fine issued for using a mobile device while driving could be prosecuted, disqualified from driving and fined up to £1,000.
If officers can prove you are driving dangerously while using your phone, you could be disqualified and jailed for up to two years.
Supt Moon added: “The new legislation which came into effect last year means you only need to be caught on your phone twice to receive 12 points on your licence, which can result in a driving ban.
“In simple terms, no text or call is worth paying £200 for. Nor is it worth potentially losing your life.
“Our advice is to put your phone away where it won’t distract you. And if you really do need to use your phone for anything, make sure you pull over where it is safe to do so; don’t risk your life by using it while driving.”
If you witness someone using their phone while driving you can report it on the Operation Crackdown website.
Details of the law around using mobile devices while driving can be found on the gov.uk website.