Police caught a motorist driving while using their mobile phone every 75 seconds during a nationwide crackdown.
Officers fear drivers are failing to get the message about the lethal danger of getting behind the wheel while distracted.
More than 8,000 people were caught red-handed during a week-long campaign last November.
Nearly 50 drivers were caught using their phones every hour during a week-long campaign by police to crack down on the behaviour
The tally of 48 every hour – equivalent to more than 1,000 a day – is the highest yet for a week of enforcement on ‘distraction driving’.
The totals for three previous campaigns were 2,323 in May last year, 2,276 in September 2015 and 2,690 in May 2015.
The vast majority were given fixed penalty notices for £100 and a three-point endorsement on their licence.
Some suspect that doubling the penalties – a change due to come into force on March 1 – may not be enough to curb the disturbing trend.
The change was announced last year after the Daily Mail’s End The Mobile Madness campaign for the Government to get tough on motorists using their phones behind the wheel. It was backed by road-safety groups, politicians and the families of the scores of victims killed by distracted drivers.
Offenders will be given six points on their licence, creating a ‘two strikes’ policy of an automatic ban if caught twice.
Those with less than two years’ driving experience could have their licence revoked if caught once.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council released the figures ahead of a fresh clampdown starting today.
Some 36 forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland stopped 10,012 vehicles and detected 8,083 offences, of which 7,966 were mobile phone offences.
The majority of the drivers caught using their mobile phones were given £100 fixed penalty notices and three points on their licence. Picture posed
As well as handing out thousands of tickets, police gave hundreds of verbal warnings and, in the most serious cases, 68 court summonses were issued.
Throughout this week police will be running targeted operations, both visible and undercover, as well as high-profile education campaigns. The crackdown will include patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cameras, while civilian ‘spotters’ will be able to highlight hotspots and repeat offenders.
Suzette Davenport, the national lead for road safety, said using a mobile phone behind the wheel should be as ‘socially unacceptable’ as drink driving. The Gloucestershire Chief Constable called on motorists to remember that ‘your calls or texts can wait’ and to keep their ‘eyes on the road’.
She has said: ‘We are committed to policing these offences but we cannot simply enforce away peoples’ behaviour. It is clear that this is an attitude problem which must be addressed by more than just penalising offenders.’
Drivers distracted by their phones have killed more than 200 people in Britain over the past ten years.
Last year, this newspaper highlighted the issue of lorry drivers flouting the law as they shuttled up and down our busiest motorways.
Research found that more than half of truckers admit to using their phones while driving, with some sending selfies and using messaging apps. One leader of frontline police officers called for distracted drivers to be charged with more serious offences, including dangerous driving.
And police chiefs are under pressure to put traffic officers back on the roads after their numbers fell by almost a third in recent years.
Ministers are also considering raising penalties for drivers who kill while using a mobile phone under the wheel.
Tough Government proposals unveiled last month would mean motorists who cause deaths while texting, calling or using social media could face life in prison. The measure would involve increasing the maximum sentence for death by dangerous or careless driving from the current 14 years to life.