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Increases in fines for using hand held mobile phones while driving

From February 27 the fine has increased to £60 and three points on the licence for acceptance of a roadside fixed penalty notice.

At court this can increase to a maximum fine of £1,000 or £2,500 for bus/coach/goods vehicle drivers (plus the points).

The key factor is whether the device must be held at some point during the call or making the call. If the whole operation can occur while a mobile phone is in a cradle, even though buttons need to be pressed, then this particular offence does not apply. Remember however that even the use of hands free mobile phones can lead to an offence of lack of proper control of the vehicle, careless, or even dangerous driving.

Research suggests driver’s reaction times are 50% slower when using a mobile phone and drivers are four times more likely to have an accident.

The only legal exemption is for use of 999 (or 112) calls in an emergency and it is unsafe/unpractical to stop e.g. if the victim of a road rage chase.

An employer can be liable to prosecution if the use of hand held mobile phones while driving is condoned. A mobile phone policy is vital for all employers.

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