Written by Admin January 24, 2007, 12:19:00 AM5370 ViewsRating: 0 (0 Rates)
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The Department for Transport has announced increased penalties for drivers using hand-held mobile phones as from February 27.
From that date, the fine will be doubled from its current level to ?60, and offenders will also be given three penalties points.
"Research shows that talking on a mobile phone while driving affects your concentration and ability to react to dangerous situations," explained Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander. "It's quite simple - it's impossible to do two things at once and do them well. That is why in December 2003 we introduced new laws preventing motorists from driving while using a hand-held mobile.
"We have seen a groundswell of support for this move. But, worryingly, while 92% of people agree with the law, 21% of drivers admit to breaking it. That is why, from February 27, the Road Safety Act will introduce a tougher fixed penalty of three points on your licence as well as a ?60 fine."
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents welcomes the move, and has urged company bosses to pay attention to it. "Employers have a responsibility under health and safety law to manage the risks faced by their employees on the road," says RoSPA Head of Road Safety Kevin Clinton, "and one of the biggest risks they face is using a mobile phone at the wheel.
"Bosses could be in trouble under health and safety laws if an investigation showed the use of a phone contributed to an accident. It is also bad publicity if a company's drivers cause accidents and if employees are injured it disrupts business as well."
Clinton has also pointed out that using a hands-free phone creates a similar risk, a point emphasised by Paul Smith of Safe Speed: "All the science tells us that the problem comes from the conversation rather than the act of holding the phone. The revised law will only apply to hand-held phones while hands-free phones are likely to be equally dangerous.
"What worries me is that the law appears to condone hands-free phoning while driving. It's entirely the wrong message. Hands free conversations are equally dangerous and the only advice we should be giving to drivers is 'don't phone and drive'."