Hampshire drivers will now face losing their licence if they’re caught using a phone behind the wheel as the government doubles down on penalties.

From today motorists using a phone while driving will receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine, twice the previous penalties.

It comes after Hampshire police caught more than 500 drivers in a crackdown on major Hampshire roads after the turn of the year.

In one week at the end of January, 204 drivers were caught as part of the nationwide initiative, with 180 fixed penalty notices issued and 55 of them happening on motorways.

Earlier this year, one driver was caught using phone on the motorway... to check a court fine had gone through for the same offence.

Another driver was caught three times in as many weeks.

Police will now be launching another week-long enforcement starting today, to catch drivers using their phones.

Motorists caught using their mobile twice or accruing 12 points on their licence will face magistrates’ court, being disqualified and fines of up to £1,000.

Hampshire road safety sergeant Rob Heard said: “It is disappointing that still so many people are taking that risk to use their phones while driving. Many lives are being put at risk by the selfish actions.

“That moment of inattention really is the difference between life and death – it is not worth the risk.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.

“Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving. Everyone has a part to play in encouraging their family and friends not to use their phones while driving – it is as inexcusable as drink driving.”

Hampshire police will join other forces around the country in a week’s enforcement from March 1 to 7, with extra patrols and an increased focus on cracking down on people using their phones while driving.

3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week from January 23 to 29.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport, national road policing lead, said: “Across this week officers will continue to use innovative and intelligence-led tactics to catch and penalise people driving distracted by a mobile phone.

“This issue has to begin with personal responsibility by drivers. We know that people are more likely to report other drivers using a phone than to view themselves as guilty of it.

“Don’t do it – and don’t let others take the risk either.”

The new penalties come into force in England, Scotland and Wales.