PEOPLE caught using their mobile phones while driving will soon get penalty points on their licences - but police fear many will carry on taking the risk.
Police in Kirklees have welcomed the Government's announcement that the law will be toughened up at the end of February.
The law change comes after one in five drivers admitted to illegally using mobile phones while driving.
Police believe many motorists will be slow to react to the law change and end up with points on their licences.
If people already have points on their licences the three points handed out for using a mobile phone could take them over the 12-point limit and lead to a ban.
Up to now the offence has been punished with a £30 fixed penalty fine.
From Thursday, February 27, drivers caught using their phones will face a £60 fine and three penalty points.
If the driver takes the case to court, the fine could dramatically increase, if the case is proved, up to £1,000 for car drivers and £2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches.
Sgt Dean Taylor from Kirklees North traffic police said: "We welcome the change in the law which is a good addition to our armoury against drivers who flout the law.
"Catching people who use their mobile phones while driving is one way of preventing deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
"I feel motorists will be slow to react to the change in the law and it will only hit home when they get the penalty points on their licences and the bigger fines."
He said the new law was a good minimum punishment, but if drivers caused a crash while using their mobile phones they would face more serious charges up to causing death by dangerous driving.
Police will seize mobile phones at the scene of serious and fatal crashes and have the technology to prove it was being used at the time.
The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously while using a mobile phone can include disqualification, large fines and up to two years in jail.
Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "Research shows that talking on a mobile phone while driving affects your concentration and ability to react to dangerous situations.
"It's quite simple. It's impossible to do two things at once and do them well."
More than 5,000 motorists are caught breaking the mobile phone law by police in Yorkshire and the Humber each year.
The national figure is way over 70,000.
The penalties for not having proper control of a vehicle have also been beefed up to a £60 fine and three penalty points.
These can be used where a driver has been distracted by using a hands-free mobile phone.
In Calderdale alone it is estimated that 75 drivers crashed their cars while using mobile phones last year.
Research shows that drivers are four times more likely to crash while on the phone.
Calderdale Clr David Kirton said: "Switch off your mobile phone before you drive.
"Rely on your voicemail and make sure you stop before you retrieve it. Your life and the lives of those around you depend on this simple advice."