MOTORISTS should face greater penalties for driving while using mobile phones, says Huddersfield-based road safety charity Brake.
Brake wants to see a concerted effort by police to target the dangerous drivers and an increase in penalties for those caught.
Simon Collister, Brake's campaigns officer, said: "At present, drivers only face a £30 fine. But if you smoke on a bus or train you could be fined up to £500.
"This seems ludicrous, considering that using a phone while driving can all too easily end in a fatal crash.
"Studies show that using a mobile phone - either hand-held or hands free – can increase the risk or chance of crashing six-fold.
"It is something no responsible driver would do."
Brake's comments follow an RAC Legal Services survey which shows a high proportion of motorists still using hand-held mobile phones while driving - even though it is illegal.
The survey revealed that more than one-third of those questioned are talking while driving and 10% admit to texting on the move.
The survey also found that 24% of people admitted to driving while tired during the last six months and 3% owned up to drink-driving.
RAC Legal Services questioned more than 2,000 British motorists on their driving behaviour over the last six months.
Mark Hodges, a spokesman for RAC Legal Services, said: "This is something we suspected was happening.
"But our research proves the shocking number of drivers flouting the law.
"Drivers using a hand-held phone pose a major threat to the safety of all road users and the law seems to have had little effect on their attitudes," added Mr Hodges.
"Even though people continue to take huge risks, they should be aware that the law is now clear.
"No motorist should be using ignorance as a defence."