A CRACKDOWN on those who use their phones at the wheel is now underway across the North-East.

A week-long campaign will see officers from Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary actively target motorists using mobiles.

As part of the campaign, stark warnings have been issued underlining the potentially deadly dangers of driving while using a phone.

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In October, Tomasz Kroker was jailed for ten years after smashing into a family’s car at 50mph while scrolling through music on his phone.

Tracey Houghton, her sons Josh Houghton, 11, Ethan Houghton,13, and stepdaughter Aimee Goldsmith, 11 died instantly as a result of the crash in August, which was captured on footage recently released by Thames Valley Police.

Police forces in the North-East are now urging drivers in the region to avoid danger and prosecution by keeping their phones out of reach while driving.

Unmarked cars will be on the road throughout the next week, actively looking for distracted motorists.

Chief inspector Graham Milne, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Drivers are not only distracted by making or receiving calls, nowadays we see drivers texting, using social media or changing a music track which are all equally as dangerous.

“If you’re someone who is likely to be tempted to use your phone whilst driving, keep it out of reach in the boot or in a glove compartment and if a call can’t wait, park up safely first.”

He added: “Recent footage released by Thames Valley Police shows the impact and devastating consequences of a collision which killed a mother and three children.

“The collision happened as lorry driver Tomasz Kroker crashed into their vehicle whilst changing a music track on his mobile phone.

“Had Kroker not been using his phone that day, four innocent lives would have been saved.”

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has backed the campaign and said there were 871 offences of driving while using a mobile across Cleveland and Durham in 2015.

Those caught breaking the law using a handheld phone could be handed a £100 fine and three penalty points.

Drivers could also be prosecuted if their use of a phone means they are not in proper control of their vehicle.

Driving carelessly or dangerously while using a phone can lead to disqualification or up to two years in prison.