Drivers flout ban on mobile phones
ONE in ten motorists are still using hand-held mobile phones while driving despite the threat of being fined up to £1000, according to new research.
A survey of more than 700 drivers showed that ten per cent admitted flouting the phone ban, which came into force in December.
Under the new law, drivers risk a fixed penalty of 30 or, if the case goes to court, a maximum 1000 fine plus three points on their driving licence.
Lothian and Borders Police today repeated warnings over the dangers of using a mobile behind the wheel. Officers said any driver caught doing so would face the full force of the law.
As well as one in ten drivers admitting that they break the law, the research by breakdown recovery firm Green Flag found that more than 75 per cent of respondents agreed that using handsets behind the wheel severely impaired their ability to drive safely.
More than a quarter of respondents - 28 per cent - said they had made a conscious effort since the ban to use a hands-free kit, which is not illegal.
Just one per cent of those questioned were unaware of the ban, and nearly one in three said their employers had made no attempt to advise staff about mobile phone use when driving for work purposes.
Nearly half said they still made mobile phone calls but made sure they parked up safely first.
Few motorists reported being stopped by the police for using their hand-held mobiles since the law changed. Only two drivers had received a verbal warning and just one had received a formal caution.
Green Flag spokeswoman Melanie Denny said: "The survey shows that there are still a significant number of motorists prepared to risk a fine or even an accident by using a mobile phone handset when driving.
"Our research shows the majority of motorists are aware of the ban and the dangers associated with mobile phone use, yet they are still prepared to take risks."
Lothian and Borders Police said they were now strictly enforcing the law, following an initial period of grace in which drivers were, in most cases, let off with warnings.
A force spokesman said: "Any person caught using a mobile phone while driving will receive a conditional offer which means they have a certain number of days in which to pay a fine.
"We have been and will continue to enforce the law."
He added that drivers had been issued with fines in the region although he was unable to say how many.
Mary Williams, chief executive at road safety charity Brake, said the findings showed a "worrying" number of drivers were still putting lives at risk.
She added: "Research shows that using a mobile phone while driving makes you up to six times more likely to crash.
"Even hands-free phones pose a significant risk as it is the conversation which distracts drivers and not simply holding the phone.
"The advice to drivers is clear and simple. Don’t make or take a call, you may take a life."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east