20,000 flout mobile phone ban in Scotland

A campaign is planned after news emerged that drivers were ignoring the new law in their thousands

Scottish police are to launch a crackdown on motorists flouting the mobile phone driving ban after revealing that 20,000 drivers have been caught north of the border since the law came into force in December 2003.

The law bans the use of handheld mobile phones while driving but the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) is warning that many motorists are still ignoring the ban.

The widespread flouting of the ban across the UK has led to proposals in the new Road Safety Bill that will see drivers get three points on their licence as well as a bigger fine of £60.

But that legislation is not expected to be ratified until next year and so Acpos has launched a two-week long campaign with Scotland's eight police forces aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of driving while on the phone.

The Scottish forces plan to publish the total number of drivers caught ignoring the ban on Wednesday 19 October to highlight the extent of the problem.

A recent NOP survey of motorists in association with the RAC found that drivers who use a mobile phone come second only to motorists who drive too close to the vehicle in front in the most annoying motorway habits.

Assistant chief constable Ian Learmonth, lead on this issue for Acpos, said in a statement: "Distraction from driving could result in the loss of someone's life. The law is likely to change soon which will mean if you are caught, points will be added to your licence, so get into the habit of driving legally and safely."

Strathclyde police recorded the highest number of drivers caught driving with a mobile phone at 10,058, accounting for more than half Scotland's total.