A CAMPAIGN in Devon and Cornwall targeting motorists using mobile phones has been hailed a success.

The police force carried out the campaign last week (November 14-20) to highlight the dangers of using a handheld mobile while driving.

A number of drivers were stopped for using hand held phones and other traffic offences and a further encouraging aspect was the number of people interacting on social media throughout the week.

Some studies suggest the act is as dangerous as drink driving.

The hope is to send a clear message to motorists that using a hand held device while driving is just as socially unacceptable.

Unmarked police vehicles patrolled the two counties.

In total 48 drivers were stopped for using a mobile phone while driving.

Numerous other traffic offences were dealt with including 21 motorists with no insurance and 84 stopped for excess speed – 17 of which were reported to court for speeding above 95 mph.

Nine vehicles were found to have no valid MOT and seven vehicles had no vehicle excise licence (car tax) and nine vehicles were seized.

Roads policing inspector, Pete Thomas said: “We hope this campaign has encouraged some people to never again use their hand held phone while driving.

"We know that the mobile phone is an important part of many people’s lives and some people think a quick call or text while driving does no harm.

"They are wrong. It is dangerous. A distraction of a second or two can be the difference between getting home ok or having a serious, potentially fatal collision. Don’t risk it.”

The police are particularly pleased with the response on social media.

Throughout the week updates and messages were posted each day on Twitter and Facebook, resulting in numerous conversations and hundreds of likes and shares.

It is estimated that around 2.75 million people were potentially reached on Twitter and around 660,000 people on Facebook.

During the week the number of comments, shares, likes and retweets totalled over ten thousand (10,430).

Inspector Pete Thomas added: “Our roads policing officers are out every day targeting motorists who break the law.

"However we all need to take responsibility. People are killed or seriously injured as a direct consequence of drivers distracted by a mobile device. These tragedies are avoidable.

"I want to thank everyone who has shared and commented on our posts last week – these people have played an active role in spreading these really important messages."