Careless mobile talk costs lives, says government

People who use their handheld mobile phones while driving face being banned from the road under new government proposals

Drivers caught using their mobile handsets while on the road face lengthy bans if a proposed new law comes into force.

The government says the proposals -- which will apply to handheld not hands-free phone calls -- put the UK in line with 35 other countries around the world and will lead to an immediate reduction in the number of accidents on the road. Independent research shows that motorists using mobiles are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than other drivers.

Transport minister David Jamieson confirmed this morning that the consultation period would last 12 weeks and said the government was acting in the interest of the public, who had seen an increase in road accidents caused by motorists using their phones while driving.

Under the current law motorists can only be prosecuted if they fail to keep proper control of their vehicle. Using a mobile phone per se is not unlawful.

Now, if the government gets its way drivers will have points put on their licence and employers who actively let workers use their handsets in cars during the course of the working day also face prosecution.

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