Fleet News

JPs call for new phone driving law

MAGISTRATES are calling on the Home Office to introduce a new offence of driving while using a mobile phone.

The measure is aimed at cutting the number of accidents allegedly involving drivers using mobile phones, and would involve a fine and three penalty points on the licence. Arthur Winnington, chairman of the Magistrates' Association road traffic committee, said: 'We have advocated this for the last four years, and we hope it will be considered by the Government. The case has been made out not only by us, but by the AA and other organisations.'

There is no law banning the use of mobiles while driving, but drivers can be charged with failing to exercise proper control of a vehicle or with careless, dangerous or reckless driving.

Police chiefs believe there is no need for specific legislation, claiming the proposed new offence is already covered in the law surrounding exercising proper control.

But Winnington added: 'I'm sure it isn't adequately covered, because every time you go out on the road you see someone using a mobile phone. We saw a specific charge work with seatbelts, but as the law stands with mobile phones, if the defendant pleads not guilty, the police have to bring evidence to persuade a bench. If it became a fixed penalty there would be no excuse.'

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