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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 08:25 GMT
Police drive to target phone use
Driver using mobile phone
Penalties for drivers who use their phones are set to increase
More than 7,000 motorists in Scotland have been fined for driving while using a mobile phone in the year since the a new law was introduced.

Police are stopping drivers on Wednesday to raise awareness of the ban and promote the use of hands-free kits.

Last week the government unveiled plans to double the fine and impose penalty points on those who flout the law.

But road safety campaigners say more needs to be done to persuade motorists to switch off their phones.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents wants the government to extend the ban to cover hands-free phones.

The first anniversary of the ban is a good time to remind everyone of the dangers of using hand-held mobile phones while driving
Nicol Stephen
Transport Minister
Proposals to toughen the existing legislation, which came into effect on 1 December last year, were contained in the Queen's Speech at Westminster.

Measures in the Road Safety Bill would increase the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving from 30 to 60 and add three penalty points.

More than 20 people have died on Britain's roads in accidents where mobile phones have been partly to blame.

Figures released by police showed that 7,186 drivers have been fined for using a hand-held mobile phone on Scotland's roads.

Transport Minister Nicol Stephen said: "This is good work by our police forces and I am certain it has saved lives."

'Simple message'

He said the introduction of tougher penalties sent out an important signal about the seriousness of this problem.

"The simple message is that using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal, irresponsible and dangerous and can kill others.

"The first anniversary of the ban is a good time to remind everyone of the dangers of using hand-held mobile phones while driving.

"I am pleased to support Scotland's police forces in this campaign."


FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
The Scotsman Drivers face new crackdown on mobiles - 10 hrs ago
Glasgow Evening Times Traffic cops in new phones crackdown - 19 hrs ago
Edinburgh Evening News Police pledge to get tough with drivers on phone - 21 hrs ago
Oxford Mail Drivers ignore phone ban in their hundreds - 22 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Motorists to face tougher penalties - 45 hrs ago
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


SEE ALSO:
Drivers told to belt up on roads
24 May 04 |  Scotland
Purge on mobile phone use in cars
17 May 04 |  Scotland
Drivers face mobile phone fines
01 Dec 03 |  Politics
Mobile ban driven home by adverts
17 Nov 03 |  Politics


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