Mobile drivers face tickets

MORE than a week after the law was introduced motorists in Suffolk are still using their mobiles while driving.A number of penalty notices have already been issued but this is not deterring all motorists from making calls while behind the wheel.

MORE than a week after the law was introduced motorists in Suffolk are still using their mobiles while driving.

A number of penalty notices have already been issued but this is not deterring all motorists from making calls while behind the wheel.

Spokeswoman for Suffolk police, Anna Woolnough, said: "Suffolk Police

have issued a number of penalty notices for offences relating to the use

of hand held devices whilst driving.

"A figure for the number of tickets issued to date is not available."

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The dangers of driving whilst using a mobile phone were highlighted continually in the run up to the new legislation on December 1 but some drivers are still ignoring the advice.

Using a hand-held phone while driving is thought to reduce driver's concentration and increase the probability of accidents – between 1988 and 2001, 19 road deaths were attributed to driving whilst on the phone.

Ms Woolnough added: "People using mobile phones or other hand held devices are four times more likely to be involved in an accident."

Though the legislation does not stretch to hands free devices because of the difficulty of enforcement, officers can still charge motorists with dangerous driving if their conversation is hindering their concentration.

As well as making it illegal to use a hand held device whilst driving, the new legislation also makes it an offence to "cause or permit" a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone or to use a hand-held phone while supervising a learner driver.

The penalty imposed is currently £30 but some police forces across the country are using a two month period of graduated enforcement to warn drivers of the offence.

This is left to the individual officer's discretion – if they believe a driver to be causing sufficient danger they may impose the fine, otherwise a caution may be issued.

Currently it is not known how many people have offended in the Suffolk area but police are promising tough action.

Ms Woolnough said: "Police will continue to target those who flout legislation, imposing penalties, or reporting them for more serious offences if appropriate."

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