TWO major police forces will next week roll-out groundbreaking new tech that can detect if a driver is using their phone at the wheel without a hands-free connection.

Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police’s Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit will be the first unit in the country to utilise the kit in a bid to reduce the amount of people using their mobiles while driving.

The device will, in a similar fashion to electronic speed signs, flash a phone symbol at motorists who it detects are using their mobiles unlawfully.

Police say the tech will also be used to see how many cars on a particular stretch of road are using their phones to help officers target particular hotspots.

It comes as part of a week-long It’s Not Worth The Risk enforcement campaign, starting on April 15, backed by the National Police Chief’s Council.

PC Liz Johnson, of the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, said: “Research shows us that you are four times more likely to crash if you are using a mobile phone whilst driving, reaction times are around 50% slower than a driver not using a mobile phone.

“It is also apparent that you are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision when texting compared with drink driving.

“It is vital that people take notice and stop using their mobile phones whilst driving."

However, although the technology can detect when Bluetooth is being used, it cannot decrypt if it is the passenger is using the phone, rather than the driver. Police say that the sign will still be activated to remind motorists of the "distraction of a mobile phone whilst driving".

The device will be posted at different locations throughout Hampshire and the Thames Valley during the campaign week.

It is not known if it will continue to be used following the campaign.

During the enforcement week, officers will be stopping motorists caught using their mobile phone at locations throughout Hampshire and the Thames Valley.

This will include officers making use of a bus provided by Stagecoach to stop those using mobile devices while behind the wheel.

Those people caught using a mobile phone whilst driving can get an automatic fixed penalty notice.

As of March 1, 2017, you’ll get six penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.

Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

PC Johnson added: "The Joint Operations Unit will continue to educate people of the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving through our “It’s Not Worth The Risk” campaign and reduce the devastating impact it can have on people’s lives.

“My advice would be to turn off your phone whilst driving, put it out of reach, out of view so that more innocent people don’t lose their lives. Remember it’s not worth the risk.”