Drivers involved in all car crashes will have their mobiles seized by police.

The move aims to cut deaths, with police using phones as evidence in prosecutions to determine whether motorists may have broken the law by phoning or texting at the wheel in the moments before any accident.

The advice to check phones at the roadside was issued to officers by Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport.

The move was welcomed last night by charities and pressure groups amidst concerns of the growing numbers killed or seriously injured because drivers are distracted by their mobile phones.

More than 500 people are estimated to be killed or seriously injured every year because car and lorry drivers were texting, responding to emails or posting messages on social networks.

Ed Morrow, of road safety charity Brake, said mobile phones are a 'menace on our roads' as many drivers continue to flout the law.

"We are fully supportive of the efforts by the police to clamp down on mobile phone use at the wheel," he said. "Offenders need to know they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and there will be serious consequences."

According to the new initiative, the phone checks will apply to any accident, whereas previously they were made only in accidents where people were killed or seriously injured.

Hugh Bladon, of the Alliance of British Drivers, supported the confiscation of potentially incriminating mobile phones, but expressed concerns about over zealous police officers. He said: "I am 100 per cent against anyone texting while driving and those caught deserve everything they get. But I'm worried police could overdo it, just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn't mean they should lose their phone."

Drivers caught using a hand-held phone at the wheel to call or text face a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three points on their licence.

In 2012, more than 10,000 drivers caught using their phone at the wheel opted to take a road safety course instead of the points.

Those who cause a crash and kill someone while using a phone could face up to 14 years in prison, but the vast majority of sentences are much shorter.

Earlier this month Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that he is considering doubling the punishment for those caught texting at the wheel to six penalty points.

"The amount of casualties has been absolutely appalling," he said. "We've got to change this."
There have been growing calls for the Government to do more to stop drivers using phones at the wheel.