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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Drivers 'set to break mobile ban'
Driver using mobile phone
An estimated 500,000 motorists are on the phone in their cars right now
One out of every three motorists is likely to break a new law forbidding holding mobile phones while driving, according to research.

The RAC survey suggests many drivers have misinterpreted the law and some simply intend to ignore it.

Anyone breaking the law, which comes into force on 1 December, will receive an on-the-spot 30 fine.

Convictions for the most serious breaches could incur fines of 1,000.

But one out of every 20 motorists questioned said they would continue to use their mobiles illegally.
From what I have seen, motorists think they can still get away with using a hand-held mobile when driving
AA Motoring Trust road safety head Andrew Howard

Of the drivers who were aware of the change in the law a further 16% told researchers they intended to invest in an ear-piece and wire device, not realising this will also be illegal if the phone is handled at any point.

Another 3% thought cradling phones between their shoulders and ears would be legal, according to the survey.

Under current laws, motorists can only be prosecuted for using mobiles if they fail to keep proper control of their vehicle.

And RAC spokeswoman Rebecca Bell said an estimated 500,000 motorists are on the phone in their cars at any one time.
Mobile phone facts
Drivers must have control of their vehicles at all times and can be prosecuted for careless, inconsiderate or dangerous driving, if using a phone causes them to drive this way
Penalties include an unlimited fine, disqualification and up to two years' imprisonment
It can also be an offence for employers to require their employees to use mobile phones while driving

But studies by the Transport Research Laboratory have suggested using a hand-held mobile is more dangerous than drink driving.

And people using a phone while driving are four times more likely to have an accident, according to the government.

The AA Motoring Trust is also calling on the government to introduce a hard-hitting campaign to educate motorists and "encourage companies to operate a safe culture with their employees".

Road safety head Andrew Howard said: "From what I have seen, motorists think they can still get away with using a hand-held mobile when driving."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Patrick Bartlett
"The RAC says its findings are worrying"



SEE ALSO:
Drivers text and talk
22 Sep 03  |  Politics
Phone ban proposals welcomed
15 Sep 03  |  Europe
Drivers in mobile phone warning
12 Mar 03  |  Wales
Mobiles 'worse than drink-driving'
22 Mar 02  |  UK News


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