Fleet News

New mobile phone laws on the cards

TRANSPORT Minister David Jamieson has confirmed he will push through new legislation that will give drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel of their cars three penalty points on their licences.

The Government is committed to making the use of a handheld phone while driving an endorsable offence, he said in response to a Parliamentary question.

Jamieson was asked what discussions he has had with the Home Office to make the use of a hand-held mobile phone an endorsable offence.

In reply, he said: ‘Ministers in the department regularly meet their colleagues.

The Government is committed to making the use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving an endorsable offence.’

Jamieson said any legislation needs to be made as part of the Road Traffic Offenders’ Act 1988 and this would be done ‘when a suitable legislative opportunity arises’.

He was also asked what assessments had been made on how compliant drivers are with the new law.

Jamieson replied that a survey carried out in April 2004 found that 1.2% of car drivers were using hand-held phones, indicating that use has dropped by 21% since the new offence came into force.

Any new legislation is likely to be 18 months to two years away, giving fleets time to take steps to ensure their drivers comply with the law.

Company car drivers caught four times will total 12 points and risk losing their licence and potentially their job.

Currently, motorists caught breaking the law face a £30 fine but this could be doubled to £60 once it becomes an endorsable offence.

In April this year, a new report claimed that tens of thousands of company car drivers were still using hand-held mobile phones while driving.

The report by Godfrey Davis Contract Hire, the corporate division of Bank of Scotland, said the majority of fleets had introduced policies that stated drivers must not use mobiles, but that these were being ignored by many drivers.

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