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Friday, February 26, 1999 Published at 11:39 GMT


Don't talk and drive warns new code

Using a mobile can be 'dangerously distracting'

Driving while talking on a mobile phone is now specifically prohibited in the updated edition of the drivers' manual, the Highway Code.

The new version warns that talking on a phone, even a hands-free type, can be dangerously distracting while driving.

Although the Highway Code is not a legal document and its recommendations do not have the force of law, they are used as benchmarks by the courts.

Drivers who have accidents while using a mobile telephone are now even less likely to get sympathetic hearings from judges or magistrates.

The road users' guide's new Section 127 warns: "Never use a hand-held mobile phone or microphone while driving."

[ image: Okay on the high street, but not on the highway]
Okay on the high street, but not on the highway
But even using hands-free systems is "likely to distract your attention from the road", it says.

Police forces currently have to decide if phone use constitutes an offence.

A number of drivers have been imprisoned after having accidents while they were talking on mobile phones.

Earlier this month a woman was jailed for 12 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving. She hit another car while overtaking at 70mph as she talked to her boyfriend on a mobile telephone.

The latest edition of Britain's best-selling book also covers new rules about driving under the influence of drugs and medicines.

It cautions motorists against driving while tired. For the first time, it also tackles road rage by including advice on courteous and considerate driving.

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