A CRACKDOWN has been launched on drivers using a mobile phone at the wheel in the run up to tougher penalties coming into force.

The new legislation, which looks likely to take effect from March 1, states that convicted motorists get six points and a £200 fine, double the current punishment.

Traffic officers on patrol in Bolton and elsewhere will be particularly looking to stamp out the behaviour and catch offending drivers.

Inspector Tony Allt, of GMP’s Roads Policing Unit, said: "We continue to bring home the message that using a mobile phone while driving is not only illegal but should be considered socially unacceptable.

"As Chief Constable Hopkins said during our last campaign, you wouldn’t let someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel, why would you let someone use their mobile phone while driving?

"These laws are not just restricted to the traditional view of making a call with the phone held to your ear. "Checking social media pages or glancing at a text that has just come through, in fact any form of communication, are equally dangerous and can severely compromise your attention to the road."

Marked and unmarked police patrol cars will be used to support the national campaign of stopping drivers and carrying out road-side checks.

Anyone with information of persistent offenders who drive while using their mobile phone should contact local officers or call 101 with details.