Nearly 8,000 UK motorists were caught using their mobile phones while behind the wheel during a week of police enforcement on distraction driving.

The nationwide operation – involving 36 forces – took place last November, with as many as 47 motorists per hour being caught using their phones. This was the highest ever for a week of enforcement on distraction driving.

Police issued more than 7,800 penalty notices during the campaign and said “hundreds of verbal warnings” and 68 court summonses were also given.

Now police have launched another week-long mobile phone enforcement campaign.

Operations include targeted patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cameras to catch offenders; partnering with local authorities and emergency services to deter motorists from taking the risk; and using community “spotters” to highlight hotspots and repeat offenders to police.

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing, said: “This week forces have been working to make driving while distracted as socially unacceptable as drink-driving through enforcing strong deterrents and powerful messages to make people think twice about their driving habits.

“Encouraging results from last year’s campaign against mobile phone use show how effective new tactics and innovative approaches can be.

Officers will continue to use intelligence-led tactics to target police activity and resources and catch repeat offenders.

“Forces will be working throughout the year to tackle this behaviour by motorists with national partners and the public.

“Remember: when at the wheel, your calls or texts can wait. Keep your eyes on the road.”