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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK
Mobile crackdown targets drivers
Driver using mobile phone
Penalties for drivers who use their phones are set to increase
More than 20,000 people have been caught driving while using a mobile phone in Scotland since a ban was introduced, police have revealed.

Forces across Scotland are preparing to launch a two-week campaign aimed at raising awareness of the law.

Senior officers said many motorists were ignoring the ban - and warned they could soon face stiffer penalties.

Almost half the drivers caught since the law came into effect in December 2003 were in Strathclyde.

More than 10,000 were spotted in the region, almost three times as many as in any other force area.

NUMBERS CAUGHT BY AREA
Central Scotland 1,512
Dumfries and Galloway 533
Fife 802
Grampian 1093
Lothian and Borders 3,402
Northern 296
Strathclyde 10,058
Tayside 2,424

On average, almost 30 motorists have been caught in Scotland every day since the act became law.

Police will launch the two-week campaign on Monday, with a national day of awareness planned for Wednesday.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Learmonth, of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), urged motorists not to use a mobile phone while driving.

"The dangers not only to themselves but also to other road users are obvious," he said.

"Distraction from driving could result in the loss of someone's life.

Fixed penalty

"The law is likely to change soon which will mean if you are caught, points will be added to your licence, so get into the habit of driving legally and safely."

The Road Safety Bill is expected to be ratified by Westminster in 2006.

It would increase the level of the fixed penalty fine from 30 to 60 alongside the addition of points.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How a change to the law could spell danger to your licence



SEE ALSO:
Police drive to target phone use
01 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Purge on mobile phone use in cars
17 May 04 |  Scotland
Drivers face mobile phone fines
01 Dec 03 |  UK Politics


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