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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 12:53 GMT
'First' charge under phone law
Car phones
A female motorist in Tayside is believed have been the first person charged under new laws banning the use of mobile phones while driving.

The 35-year-old woman was stopped by police in Dundee about 0200 GMT on Monday and was charged with improper use of her mobile phone.

The woman, from Dundee, was also charged with drink driving.

Police officers now have the power to issue on-the-spot 30 fines to drivers using mobile phones in vehicles.

Hand-held mobiles

But the woman was not given a fixed penalty fine because she was charged with other offences.

A spokeswoman for Tayside Police said: "A 35-year-old woman has been reported to the procurator fiscal in Dundee following an alleged breach of the mobile phone legislation."

The ban on hand-held mobiles while driving came into force at midnight.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has recommended that officers in England and Wales give drivers a period of grace to get used to the new laws.

However, some of Scotland's eight forces appear to be taking a more hard line approach.

Tayside Police said it had also issued a fixed penalty notice to a 40-year-old man in Angus at 1030 GMT on Monday after he was seen using his mobile phone while driving.

Dangerous driving

Fife Police said it had issued one fixed penalty to a 34-year-old man, who was driving while using a mobile phone as he negotiated a roundabout.

Five drivers were given on-the-spot fines in the Strathclyde area.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "Obviously officers will be able to use their discretion but we are not saying anything about a two month settling-in period."

That view was not shared by the Lothian and Borders force.

It said officers will issue warnings to the majority of drivers in the first few weeks.

However, if anyone is seen using a phone in a manner which constitutes dangerous driving, then action will be taken.

Drivers have been warned that 30 fines could rise to 1,000 if the case goes to court while drivers of heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches may have to pay 2,500.

Alan Mackay reports
"Day one of the ban but still drivers have to make that call."

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