Most drivers will welcome increased fixed penalty fines for those using hand-held mobile phones at the wheel.

The Department for Transport is considering raising the present £60 fine to £90 or even possibly £100.

An AA/Populus survey of nearly 21,000 drivers published today shows that 74% have seen others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with 25% seeing the practice on every journey.

A total of 58% said they had never used a hand-held phone in the car but, of the 42% that have used a phone, 60% said it distracted them.

Around 20% admitted having used a mobile phone to send a text while driving and 4% admitted to checking emails and 2% to sending emails on the move.

Also, 2% have read Twitter or Facebook updates and 1% have tweeted while at the wheel.

AA president Edmund King said: "This epidemic of hand-held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives, and our members are demanding action. An increase in the standard motoring fixed-penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use."

He said it was imperative that targeted police enforcement campaigns help to reinforce the message and that AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty.

He added: "Our members also fully support education, so for some offenders an awareness course may be all they need to persuade them to comply with the law in future.

"It is worrying that the equivalent of six million drivers even admit to texting on the move. Action must be taken to stop these talking, texting, tweeting drivers."