The changes, which are double the original penalties of £100 and three points, are the result of a government consultation with the public.
They reflect not only how socially unacceptable the Department for Transport want to make the practice, but also how intolerant the majority of the public are of it.
Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) has been running a campaign since January entitled It Can Wait, which stresses that nothing is as important as focussing on driving, and whatever your phone is doing, your main concern should be getting to your destination in one piece.
With these changes in the penalties, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) is leading a national week of enforcement specifically surrounding this topic.
Surrey and Sussex Police forces are deploying officers for a highly-visible operation which will target motorists who do not see the risks of what they are doing, and who continue to put other road users in danger.