A ROAD safety charity has called for tougher enforcement of the ban on using mobile phones while driving.
Huddersfield-based Brake also wants a significant increase in the current penalty system.
Motorists flouting the law with mobile phones currently face a £30 fixed penalty ticket.
But Brake wants three penalty points and £60 fine penalty used to deter drivers.
Mary Williams, chief executive of the charity, said: "It is appalling that so many drivers put lives at risk by driving while using their mobile phones.
"Driving is the most dangerous thing that most of us do on a daily basis and it requires our full attention."
Pc Phil Shaw of Huddersfield Police road traffic department said drivers using mobile phones was a big problem in Huddersfield.
He said a police officer in an unmarked car could easily issue 15 tickets a day to unsuspecting drivers.
"We try to deal with it, but it is a big problem.
"We have had drivers throwing their phones on the floor to avoid a ticket, but it is serious offence," he said.
He said texting as well as actual calls while driving was also a problem.
The comments come as new research shows that millions of motorists are flouting driving laws and putting themselves and others in danger.
Department of Transport figures suggest that just 1.5% of drivers use their mobile phones while driving.
But whatcar.com's survey of more than 1,000 motorists put the figures 16 times higher. In all 24 % said they still used a handheld for quick calls.
8.6% admitted they used one all of the time and further 8.8% said they still used a phone when driving but intend to stop doing so.
The survey showed that millions of drivers could still be putting themselves and others in danger.
Steve Fowler, What Car? group editor said: "It doesn't matter if you're only making a quick call. Handheld phones are dangerously distracting. We'd like to see a hands-free kit provided with every new phone sold by law, and more traffic police on the roads to enforce mobile phone laws, which will eventually put penalty points on licences."
Whatcar.com has teamed up with a mobile phone company to offer a 10% discount on hands-free equipment to encourage motorists to use their mobiles more responsibly.
A voucher for the discount is available on whatcar.com and thecarphonewarehouse.com.