Merseyside Police has revealed that it stopped 2,700 people during 2015 for driving while using a mobile phone, the equivalent of 50 drivers a week.

Similarly, officers in Cheshire announced earlier this month that they had issued 2,041 fines to drivers for using a mobile phone at the wheel during 2015.

There is a body of evidence which indicates that motorists using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving are more distracted and it can substantially increase a driver’s chance of being involved in a road accident.

In October last year, the Ministry of Justice announced that it had prosecuted more than 17,000 drivers in the magistrates’ court for using a mobile phone behind the wheel in 2014, but this contrasts with Department for Transport figures which indicate that more than half a million drivers were seen using a mobile phone.

The fixed penalty for using a mobile phone at the wheel currently stands at a fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence. If your case is taken to court then the maximum fine is £1,000 and a possible driving ban.

Katie Williams, a personal injury solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Liverpool office, said: “Drivers who use a mobile phone at the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in a crash, risking injury to themselves, their passengers and other road users.

“Considering the devastation that a road accident can cause, it is unbelievable how many people are continuing to flout the law. The government has a responsibility to ensure that the public is properly educated about the risks of using a phone behind the wheel, and that those who are caught are held properly accountable. The current penalties for using a mobile phone at the wheel are clearly not a big enough deterrent.

“The Merseyside and Cheshire forces are clearly taking the issue seriously and are to be commended for doing so but government needs to make sure that police forces are properly resourced in order that they and others can continue to do so. Only in that way will we be able to make sure that reckless drivers think twice about getting away with behaving in this way, and by doing so reduce the accidents and untold misery (as well as cost to society) that they cause.”