THE demands of the technological age have meant many of us cannot live without mobile gadgets.

You only have to walk down the street to see people talking or tapping away on a mobile device.

Worryingly though, communication isn't curtailed in the car either with drivers keeping in touch through hands-free devices, or worse still tapping or yapping away at the wheel.

Communication behind the wheel, in whatever form, is distracting. Driving takes intensive concentration and a momentary lapse can cause devastating consequences.

That is why new measures, such as an increase in penalty points, to clamp down on mobile phone use while driving are a welcome move - but according to some, more could be done.

Bradford driving instructor, Chris Smith, who runs Driving Mode driving school, says he doesn't think the new measures go far enough and believes there aren't sufficient police to clamp down on the culprits.

He says most cars are fitted with hands-free devices but he adds that it is still 'a massive distraction.'

"I don't answer mine while driving," says Chris, who won't even have a conversation on his hands-free device.

He believes that drivers who do use their mobile phones behind the wheel should be banned instantly. "And they should be made to take their test again," he adds.

John Scruby, retired police officer and trustee of the Brighouse-based road safety charity SCARD (Support and Care after Road Death and Injury), welcomes the new measures which he says are long awaited.

However John acknowledges the fact that for some motorists the message isn't getting across.

"The message isn't getting across. The DFT put some figures out a few days ago and in one week in January 3,600 tickets were issued for using mobile phones - 3,600 in a week," he reiterates.

John believes motorists don't think they are doing anything wrong, but he says by using their mobile phones at the wheel they are making a conscious decision and one which could have catastrophic consequences.

He wants to see an increase in traffic officers to help clamp down on the culprits. "They need to take a long hard look at what they have done to the traffic department and have a dedicated traffic patrol and give powers to highways officers," he adds.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said increasing fixed penalties will be a "strong deterrent".

He added: "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."

The Department for Transport said members of the public can report repeat offenders anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Police forces are carrying out a seven-day crackdown with extra patrols and an "increased focus" on catching drivers using handheld phones.

According to the Transport Research Laboratory, reaction times are twice as long for drivers who are texting compared with those who have been drinking.

A new advert developed by the Government's road safety group Think! and the AA Charitable Trust shows a drunk man suggesting he should swap places with his sober girlfriend, who is texting on her phone while driving him home.

The campaign will be featured at cinemas and on billboards, radio and social media, with the message: "You wouldn't drink and drive. Don't text and drive."

AA president Edmund King said too many motorists are "addicted" to their phones, with half of young drivers unable to bring themselves to switch them off before starting a journey.

"We need to break this addiction and the best way is for drivers to go cold turkey - turn off the phone and put it in the glove box."

Breakdown firm the RAC is urging motorists to pledge not to use their phones while driving on its new website.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said encouraging motorists to take personal responsibility for their actions must be at the heart of the campaign to change driving habits.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for the road safety charity, Brake, said: “The increase in the points is very welcome. However, when you realise that you can be fined £1,000 for not having a TV licence, then the £200 fine for illegally using a mobile looks woefully inadequate.”

“We’re also very concerned about the ever dwindling number of roads traffic police. Their numbers have fallen by almost a third since 2010. There are now approximately 3,700 specialist traffic officers in England and Wales. We want the UK government to look again at this, and make roads policing a national priority."