Road safety charity backs campaign

A ROAD safety charity has backed The Star's campaign to stop people talking on their mobile phones while driving and says it thinks the law should be tighter.

A ROAD safety charity has backed The Star's campaign to stop people talking on their mobile phones while driving and says it thinks the law should be tighter.

Brake charity feels people are not taking laws on driving and chatting seriously and says hands-free phones should be banned as well as hand-held ones.

The news comes a week after The Star launched its Light Up, Belt Up and Shut Up campaign which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of using mobile phones when driving.

On December 1, 2003 it became a criminal offence to use a hand-held phone when driving in the UK.


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Drivers caught by police face a £30 fixed penalty, up to £1,000 on conviction in court or £2,500 for drivers of goods vehicles, buses or coaches.

The law also forbids those supervising a provisional licence holder to use their phones and yet five people were fined for this offence in Suffolk between July 2004 and June 2005 and 12 were fined a year later.

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Between July 2005 and June 2006 2,264 drivers in Suffolk were issued with fixed penalty notices for talking on phones while driving.

The figure rose by 65 per cent from the same period the year before.

But the Suffolk Constabulary have recently said it will take firmer steps on people caught using their phone while driving and will be stepping up patrols in the county over the winter months.

Dianne Ferreira, of Brake, said: “I don't think people are taking the ban seriously at all.

“Many of us have read media reports on drivers who have killed themselves or others while talking on a mobile or even reading or sending a text message. Yet many drivers still do it.

“You wouldn't operate a chainsaw while on the phone so why do it when you are in charge of a big hunk of dangerous metal.”

The Brake website highlights research from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents which states accidents can still be caused by using hands free mobile phones.

It said: “Research shows that hands-free phones are no safer than hand-held phones. The main danger of being on the phone while driving is disruption of concentration.”

Mrs Ferreira added: “Simply never use a mobile phone or a pager while driving whether it is a hand-held mobile or a hands-free.

“Drivers still risk prosecution for failure to have proper control if they use a hands-free phone when driving.”

n. Do you think hands free kits should also be banned? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.brake.org.uk

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