Police believe many motorists will be slow to react to February’s change and end up with points on their licences, with many receiving automatic bans. To combat this, a new advertising campaign will publicise the changes and highlight the dangers of using a mobile phone while on the road.
"Research shows that talking on a mobile phone while driving affects your concentration and the ability to react to dangerous situations. It is impossible to do two things at once and do them well," said Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander.
"While 92 per cent of people agree with the [current] law, 21 per cent of drivers admit to breaking it. That is why, from 27 February, the Road Safety Act will introduce a tougher fixed penalty of three points on your licence and a £60 fine."
If the police or the driver chooses to take a case to court rather than use a fixed penalty notice, the maximum fine is £1000 or £2500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches.
A Home Office survey for 2004 showed that nearly 74,000 fixed penalty notices were issued for illegal use of a mobile phone while driving.
Several research studies have shown that using a mobile while driving greatly increases the chances of having an accident. It has also been shown that the use of hands-free mobile kits, which is legal under UK law, makes no difference to the risk.
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