Crackdown on drivers who talk on phone
MORE than £40,000 worth of fines have been issued to drivers in Essex flouting the new laws on handheld mobile phones.Legislation forbidding the use of handheld mobiles while driving was introduced in November last year as an amendment to the Road Vehicles Regulations Act of 1988.
MORE than £40,000 worth of fines have been issued to drivers in Essex flouting the new laws on handheld mobile phones.
Legislation forbidding the use of handheld mobiles while driving was introduced in November last year as an amendment to the Road Vehicles Regulations Act of 1988.
Drivers were instructed to used approved hands-free equipment or divert their phones to voicemail while on the road.
Initially, Essex Police enforced a national "grace" period of one month in which offending members of the public were pulled over but instead of receiving a ticket were warned about the new law.
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In December last year traffic officers used a two-pronged approach, issuing warnings to some law-breakers and a total of 85 tickets to others.
But since January 1, a further 1,366 £30 non-endorsable fixed penalty notices have been issued to drivers on the roads of Essex making a total of 1,451 – or £43,530 worth of fines.
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Fines can technically rise to £1,000 for private motorists with lorry and bus drivers liable to a maximum fine of £2,500.
There are no records of the number of warnings that were issued in Essex.
Before the new legislation outlawing mobile phone use while driving the police could use careless driving laws to prosecute offenders.
But it could be difficult to prove in court that using a mobile phone always constituted careless driving and new legislation was proposed to help the police prosecute.
Yesterday a spokesman for Essex Police said: "Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is not only illegal, it is also downright dangerous.
"Anybody holding a mobile phone to their ear is not able to steer a car properly and does not have full control over it.
"It is pure selfishness. The type of people who do things like this think they can do as they please while putting other people's lives at risk."