Fleet News

Early car ban expected on hand-held mobile phones

THE Government could ban the use of hand-held mobile phones as early as Easter, following its consultation with industry on the proposal.

The consultation, which finished at the end of November, suggested a fixed penalty fine of between £30 to £40 should a driver be caught using a phone, even if they are in a traffic jam, or stopped at lights. The penalties are not as stiff as some wanted, but to introduce penalty points on driving licences or higher fines would require new legislation, a Department for Transport spokesman said.

This would mean a longer delay as it would need to be passed through Parliament, whereas a fixed penalty would mean a minor adjustment to current legislation. At the moment, a driver caught using a mobile phone can be fined or prosecuted for failing to maintain proper control of their vehicle, although instances of enforcement are rare.

A spokesman for the Association of Car Fleet Operators said while it supported a ban on mobile phones and advocated road safety, there were too many grey areas with such simple legislation, which does not take account of advances in technology and other actions which affect drivers concentration, such as eating or drinking while driving.

The Government will make a final decision in the new year.

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