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Phone-drivers get the points from next week

Date: 21 February 2007

Drivers using hand-held mobile phones will be hit with a £60 fine and three points on their licence following the new Road Safety Act's introduction next Tuesday.

The act's long-awaited introduction increases the penalty from the current token gesture £30 fine that's failed to act as a deterrent. More than a fifth of drivers admit to using a phone while driving, despite 92% agreeing with the law, according to the Department for Transport, and 74,000 fixed penalty notices were handed out to phone drivers in 2004, the most recent year of records.

The new act also introduces the offence of causing death by inconsiderate or careless driving, the possibility of graduated speeding penalties according to the offence and the ban on radar-based speed camera detectors, though the GPS-based ones are still legal.

Other impacts of the act could be the much-vaunted introduction of French-style rest areas on motorways to provide more safe stopping places without the need for sprawling service stations.