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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 08:45 GMT
Drivers still using mobile phones
Driver with mobile phone
Kent Police issued 70 fixed penalty notices in the first week
Nearly 70 people were stopped by police in Kent for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving in the first week that tougher penalties came into force.

Officers said the first motorist stopped was someone who already had the maximum 12 points on their licence, who would now receive a court summons.

Since 27 February, drivers caught flouting the law face a 60 fine and three points on their driving licence.

Ch Insp John Frayne said many more motorists were now heeding the message.

"As police officers we see first hand the devastation caused by motorists who have been distracted when using their mobile phone, and making the roads of Kent a safer place is our priority," he said.

Learner drivers

Figures from Kent Police suggest that up to 5% of road traffic collisions involving serious injuries or fatalities in the county are due to drivers using mobile phones immediately before or at the time of an accident.

During 2006, officers issued 4,680 fixed penalty notices to drivers caught using a hand-held mobile phone in Kent.

Four fixed penalty notices were handed out to those using a phone while supervising a learner driver.

For cases that reach court, the penalties for using a hand-held phone can result in a fine of up to a maximum of 1,000.

It can rise to 2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches, as well as possible disqualification from driving.


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